Recently, there have been several fibromyalgia commercials being shown on television that have been advertising various medications to treat the chronic illness, but what is fibromyalgia?
As stated in a previous post, I have decided to begin a new segment, Fibromyalgia Fridays, that explores fibromyalgia and my personal journey to overcome it. Much of the information will be drawn from the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA)website and my personal experience.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. My blog and the Fibromyalgia Fridays segment is simply a documentation of my life. The views expressed here are my personal opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. The topics I discuss in this blog are methods that have been helpful for my own struggle with fibromyalgia. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your daily routine.
Now that we have the business side out of the way back to my original question: What is Fibromyalgia?
According to the NFA, fibromyalgia is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally, and socially. It is a syndrome rather than a disease in that it is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and often psychological distress.
Symptoms: pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and other symptoms/overlapping conditions
Diagnosis: Currently, there are no laboratory tests available for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Doctos must rely on patient histories, self-reported symptoms, a physical examination, and an accurate manual tender point examination.
Causes: The underlying cause(s) still remain a mystery. However, new research findings continue to bring us closer to understanding the basic mechanisms. Most researchers agree that it is a disorder of central processing with neuroendocrine/neurotransmitter dysregulation.
Prevalence: Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder is estimated to affect 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimate 3-6% of the world population with the highest prevalence in women (75-90% of people who have fibromyalgia are women).
Treatment: Lifestyle Adaptation– pain management, sleep management, psychological support, and other treatments. (I will be discussing lifestyle adaptation later in the segment.)
For more information, please visit the National Fibromyalgia Association or consult with your physician.