Fibromyalgia Explained

Woman suffering from cervical pain
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Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common disorder that is characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and many other symptoms. It is very similar to arthritis in terms of symptoms but it shouldn’t be considered a type of arthritis. It doesn't cause any damage or inflammation to one's muscles, joints, or other tissues. It just causes a significant amount of pain and fatigue. It can interfere with a person’s ability to perform any daily activities.


It is also considered a rheumatic condition. A rheumatic condition is a chronic pain medical condition that affects the joints and soft tissues. People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis may be more at risk for fibromyalgia as well.

Some studies show that women in particular who a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves. There are many different reasons why this could be. It could be either a heredity factor,  environmental factors or both. It is still unknown what genes cause some people to be more sensitive to stimuli, which leads to pain syndromes. Although the specific causes for this condition are unknown, there are factors that increase that chances for fibromyalgia such as hereditary and environmental factors.

There have been several genes that have been identified to occur more in fibromyalgia patients.

There are no specific diagnosis test for fibromyalgia because a standard laboratory test cannot reveal the physiologic cause for the pain. However, there are objective tests for this conditions. Objective tests for fibromyalgia, some doctors, unfortunately, may conclude a patient’s pain is not real, or sometimes a doctor may just tell their patient that there isn’t much you can do.

If a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made, then the report will be established by the American College of Rheumatology. A history of chronic and widespread pain for more than 3 months, other general physical symptoms (e.g. fatigue, memory, waking unrefreshed, or thought problems). The doctor must consider the variety of areas throughout the body that was in pain during the previous week.

Medications for Fibromyalgia Pain

There are only three medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia: pregabalin, duloxetine, milnacipran. Pregaballin is a medication prescribed to treat the pain. Deloxetine was primarily produced for (and still is) used to treat depression. Milnacipran is a drug that is used to treat depression, but the FDA approved it for only fibromyalgia. Analgesics are used for fibromyalgia used. There is no solid proof that shows narcotics works for the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. Long-term use of fibromyalgia drugs is also dangerous because there is potential for psychologically depended on them.

NSAIDs are also used as well; they are over the counter and easy to access.

There are alternative therapies including massages, movement therapies such as pilates, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and dietary supplements. Fibromyalgia is chronic and can last for a lifetime. However, it does not progress and does not cause damage to any other parts of the body. Sometimes, the symptoms can improve over time.

Final Thoughts

More research needs to be done on fibromyalgia, and researchers are looking at the possibility of hypersensitivity to stimuli that normally are not painful. Researchers would evaluate the status of CNS responses and look into how the activation of the immune cells which could initiate a wave of events leading to the activation of nerve cells. Researchers also look at a variety of studies from medications and intervention design to encourage behaviors that reduce pain and change behaviors that worsen or perpetuate pain.

The current suggestion is that fibromyalgia is caused by a problem in which of how the brain processes pain – and that is where most of the research is directed. Currently exercise and sleep are two treatments that are suggestive to be really helpful in decreasing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

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