Fibromyalgia causes extensive body ache. It is easy to confuse it with arthritic pain. But, unlike arthritis, it does not cause swelling of the joints and muscles. It causes pain in the soft tissues of the body. This disorder is less common among men, with around 80-90% of the people who come down with it, being women.
Read on to know more about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia messes with the brain’s ability to process pain because it increases the levels of those chemicals that convey this sensation to the brain. As a result, the feeling of ache and stiffness is enhanced. But, doctors do not know what exactly prompts this disease. Fibromyalgia causes could be any of the following-
- Infections: Doctors have observed that infections can either trigger or aggravate it.
- Genetics: If someone you are related to by blood has it, you could contract it too.
- Trauma: Sometimes an accident can cause this ailment.
- Psychological trauma: Mental stress, anxiety, and worry too can be the reason behind it.
- Surgery: This disease can manifest itself after surgery.
What are the Symptoms of this Disease?
Fibromyalgia usually sets in once a person crosses 45, but it can happen at any point during your life. It’s usual signs are:
- A continuous throbbing pain
- Stiffness of the jaws
- Frequent headaches
- Increased sensitivity to heat or cold
- Fogginess of the brain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Restless leg syndrome
- Slight loss of vision
- Weight gain
- Breathing problems
How do Doctors diagnose this Ailment?
Doctors usually conclude that you have fibromyalgia if you have been experiencing pain for more than three months at a stretch. But, you may have to undergo blood tests to rule out any other medical condition that could be triggering the symptoms.
Can you get better?
There is no etched-in-stone approach to fibromyalgia treatment. Essentially doctors will try to bring the symptoms under control and improve your quality of life. That is why its treatment consists of a combination of medicines and exercises.
You may have to take the following medications-
- Painkillers: Usually doctors provide over-the-counter drugs to help you deal with the constant ache. They wouldn’t prescribe narcotic-based medicines because they come with the risk of dependency and addiction.
- Muscle-relaxants: These meds can help ease and relax your tensed and throbbing muscles.
- Anti-depressants: They help you cope with the anxiety and stress that are prompting this condition.
- Anti-seizures: Though doctors prescribe these meds to treat epilepsy and seizures, sometimes they are very effective in pain management as well.
Physiotherapy is an excellent way to root out the pain. Your physiotherapist will teach you certain exercises that will boost your flexibility, endurance and strength.
To supplement physiotherapy and expedite the results, you need to exercise every day. Combine some aerobic exercises like running, rope jumping along with some strength training ones like push-ups, lunges and planks to keep pain at bay.
An ancient Chinese tradition, acupuncture has been known to cure different kinds of pain and fibromyalgia is no exception. The number of sessions you need will depend on how intense your pain is.
Fibromyalgia not a life-threatening disease but it can, unfortunately, cause quite a few inconveniences. But with proper medication and exercise, you can lead a normal life.