43 signs of fibromyalgia you should be aware of
Fibromyalgia: understanding symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Fibromyalgia, characterized by muscle pain and fatigue, is a common condition that mostly affects women, especially those of childbearing age.
Differentiating it from arthritis:
Contrary to common misconceptions, fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis. It lacks an inflammatory component and falls under soft tissue rheumatism, a category that includes disorders that cause pain and stiffness around muscles, bones and joints.
Symptoms and signs:
People with fibromyalgia often report pain and stiffness in areas such as the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, and hips. Although it may initially appear in certain areas, it can spread gradually. Descriptions of pain vary, including sensations such as burning, discomfort, or pain, which are influenced by factors such as activity, weather, sleep patterns, and stress. Although physical examinations may appear normal, fibromyalgia can be recognized by tender spots throughout the body.
Fatigue and sleep disturbances:
Fatigue is a common complaint, sometimes beyond the prominence of pain. Sleep disorders are common, with sufferers experiencing light sleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up tired even after seemingly adequate rest.
Symptoms related to the nervous system:
Mood changes, such as feelings of sadness and anxiety, are common. Some individuals also suffer from depression, possibly related to fibromyalgia. Difficulties concentrating and problems performing mental tasks may arise, often worsening during periods of increased fatigue or anxiety.
Other associated problems:
Headaches, abdominal pain, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and urinary tract problems are frequently observed in fibromyalgia patients. Additional problems include cramps, dizziness, and pain in various joints.
Fibromyalgia lacks specific diagnostic tests, with laboratory results and imaging studies appearing normal. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria guide diagnosis based on a history of widespread pain for at least three months and pain in 11 or more of 18 specific sites. It is necessary to rule out cases with similar symptoms through comprehensive laboratory tests.
Causes of fibromyalgia:
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown. Multiple factors may contribute, including infectious or physical trauma, emotional stress, and hormonal changes. Abnormal levels of pain-signaling chemicals in the brain are also taken into consideration, although whether they cause or result from fibromyalgia is not yet clear.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, effective management can be achieved. It is important to stress to patients that fibromyalgia, although uncomfortable, does not cause tissue damage. Treatment options include treating symptoms, managing pain, and improving overall health. Seeking consultation with a rheumatologist experienced in diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia is essential for careful evaluation and care.
In conclusion, understanding the symptoms, diagnostic criteria, and available treatment options is vital for those dealing with fibromyalgia. Awareness of this condition and seeking professional medical guidance can greatly improve the quality of life of individuals with fibromyalgia.