There are certain health conditions that are straightforward: arthritis, a stress fracture, a dislocation. While they are still painful, patients can get some sort of comfort in being able to pinpoint what ails them and get started with treatment.
However, when a person suffers from fibromyalgia, it may take longer to receive an actual diagnosis.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic, widespread pain in muscles and joints that is tender to the touch. The pain could affect one specific section of the body, or start in one part, and move across the person’s anatomy.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
There’s no specific cause that can be pinpointed as a trigger for fibromyalgia. However, it’s a result of the body’s nervous system being unable to process pain properly. As a result, when one portion of the body should hurt for a reason, the person feels pain all throughout their body.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
In addition to widespread pain, people who suffer from fibromyalgia experience the following symptoms:
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Migraines or tension headaches
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Because symptoms are so widespread when a person first seeks medical help, they often have to undergo a myriad of lab tests to rule out other conditions, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid issues. Blood tests will usually come out clear and X-rays won’t show any issues, so the person is often shuffled from specialist to specialist.
Once everything else has been ruled out, medical providers will ask the patient questions about the type of pain they’re experiencing and related symptoms. If there’s a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor will prescribe muscle relaxers and possibly additional medication to help you sleep and deal with anxiety and depression if appropriate.
4 Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes to Treat Fibromyalgia
One of the key elements to keep fibromyalgia pain at bay is to incorporate regular exercise. These can be low-intensity, such as tai-chi, walking, or yoga, and should include stretching exercises.
In addition to exercise, a person suffering from fibromyalgia should prioritize sleep. If the condition causes sleep disturbances, you could do any of the following to maximize resting time:
– Take melatonin before going to bed
– Stop using screens with blue light for at least an hour before bedtime
– Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
– Take naps whenever possible
– Avoid consuming alcohol before going to bed
3. Eat Healthily
There’s a big misconception that eating healthy has to be insipid or boring. There is nothing further from the truth. Your body craves what you feed it regularly, so if you’re a fan of having doughnuts for breakfast, that’s what your body’s going to ask you for when it’s hungry.
Since fibromyalgia makes people feel exhausted, make it a point to incorporate whole foods into your diet, since these types of foods are good for energy.
4. Manage Stress
Emotional stress will exacerbate symptoms of fibromyalgia. This is because stress weakens the body, and a weak immune system will make you more susceptible to pain. Therefore, it’s essential to take time off when things get too hectic. Meditation, relaxation therapy, or taking a warm bath are all ways to help you diminish stress.
Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia
Risk factors for suffering from fibromyalgia include:
- Being female
- A family history of the condition
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Suffering from anxiety or depression
- Having PTSD
- Having rheumatoid arthritis
- Having experienced trauma in the past
Complications of Fibromyalgia
When a person suffers from constant pain and fatigue, the condition can start interfering with the patient’s regular activities, such as school, work, taking care of family, or even doing activities they once loved doing.
It can also result in experiencing a mental fog (or inability to concentrate). In many cases, due to the frustration that comes with fibromyalgia symptoms, the person will often experience depression.
Facts About Fibromyalgia
While fibromyalgia is commonly a misunderstood condition, it’s actually one of the most common chronic pain disorders. It also occurs more often in women.
Fibromyalgia can also affect a person’s job and personal relationships, especially if symptoms occur regularly. As a result, people can feel isolated.
Despite feelings of isolation, the condition affects approximately 10 million people in the United States and about 6% of the world’s population.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At the Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, let us help you get back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.