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Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a condition in which a person suffers from long term pain all over the body. The pain may be very severe or may cause certain parts of the body to feel tender. The joints, muscles, and tendons of the body can feel especially tender. There are several symptoms that a person suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome may experience. Some of these symptoms include headaches, morning stiffness, chronic fatigue, anxiety, sleep disorders, and numbness.
Specific triggers to this disorder have yet to be found.
Causes of Fibromyalgia syndrome
The exact causes of Fibromyalgia syndrome have yet not been found out. It is believed that physical or emotional trauma may be associated with fibromyalgia. Recent researches have also claimed that those who are suffering from fibromyalgia show abnormal responses to pain due to abnormal neural transmission. There are other triggers like sleep disorders, which may be the actual triggers of the disorder.
There are several theories about the origins of Fibromyalgia syndrome. One of these theories suggests that changes in the musculoskeletal metabolism, which is most commonly caused due to a decrease in the blood flow, may be the cause of the chronic fatigue experienced in fibromyalgia. Infectious microbes are also thought to be associated with the cause of this disorder. However, no such microbes have yet been identified. Some preliminary evidence from medical researches shows that there may be genetic linkages to the disease too.
Fibromyalgia restless leg syndrome, a condition in which a person has to keep moving their leg in order to experience relief from constant pain and discomfort, is another peculiarity that has been seen in this disorder. Though anyone could suffer from fibromyalgia, it has been seen that women in the age range of 20-50 are more prone to it.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms (FMS)
As in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia also has a characteristic symptom of low energy and tenderness within different parts of the body. A person experiences chronic pain and has tenderness in the joints and muscles. Unfortunately, the pain in fibromyalgia often mimics the symptoms of different kinds of arthritis, because of which it can get difficult to identify the disorder. However, there are certain distinguishing factors that set fibromyalgia and arthritis apart. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, there is no swelling or destruction of the joints in fibromyalgia. While in arthritis, the joints may become misshapen, this is not experienced in fibromyalgia.
There is a soft tissue pain in fibromyalgia, which is characterized by a deep aching and gnawing feeling. Some patients may also experience sensations of burning or shooting pain. The pain and discomfort ranges from mild to severe and the person experiencing this pain may often not be able to sleep because of the discomfort experienced.
Some patients may experience the worsening of the symptoms towards the night. The pain may increase with activity and there may be some specific triggers like anxiety or dampness which cause the intensification of the symptoms. Some people also experience specific symptoms like fatigue, pain in the facial muscles, tingling and numbness, palpitations, and cognitive problems. In fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome is also a much experienced symptom.
Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
The doctor makes a physical examination and takes the history of the symptoms, especially in areas like the neck, chest, arms, joints, buttocks, thighs, lower back, rib cage, and shoulders. Some laboratory tests are also conducted to eliminate the possibilities of disease like AIDS, Lyme disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression.
Treatment of Fibromyalgia
In a mild case of fibromyalgia, the symptoms may disappear with a little change in the lifestyle. However, there is a combination of treatments, including physical therapy, diet therapy, patient education, and counseling which is used to tackle the disease. A permanent cure to this disorder has not yet been found.
|Submitted on January 16, 2014|