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What is Fibromyalgia? Symptoms and Treatment

What is Fibromyalgia? Symptoms and Treatment

February 1, 2023
What is Fibromyalgia? Symptoms and Treatment

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body as well as sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population. Experts do not fully understand what causes it, but people with the disorder have a sharp sensitivity to pain.

Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

What are the Symptoms?

Woman experiencing back pain.
  • Problem with concentration, thinking, and memory
  • Numbness in hands and feet or tingling
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Migraines, including headaches
  • Digestive problems such as abdominal pain
  • Stiffness all over the body and pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Constipation, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Pain in the jaw, or face, including disorders of the jaw 

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

  1. Genetics. There may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
  2. Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or worsen the condition. 
  3. Physical or emotional events.  It can sometimes be triggered by a physical event, such as a car accident. Prolonged psychological stress may also trigger the condition.

What Is Its Treatment?

Treatments for fibromyalgia include both medication and self-care strategies. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. Different treatments may not work for all symptoms, but a combination of treatments may have a greater impact. Treatments may include a combination of medications and therapies such as:

  1. Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs may be helpful. It is not recommended to use opioid medications due to the side effects and dependence they can cause and the fact that they will worsen the pain with time.
  2. Anti-seizure drugs. It is often possible to reduce certain types of pain with medicines designed to treat epilepsy. Gabapentin is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.
  3. Antidepressants. These may help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. 
  4. Occupational therapy. In order to reduce stress on your body, an occupational therapist can help you adjust your work area or the way you perform certain tasks.
  5. Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina. 
  6. Counseling. Counseling can help you develop strategies for dealing with stressful situations and strengthen your belief in your abilities.
  7. ETA Force Caps. It’s a treatment prescribed to treat pain and inflammation due to several health conditions. It works by blocking the release of chemical messengers in the body responsible for pain and inflammation. ETA force cap is an oral medicine that you need to take by mouth. The usual recommended dose is 1 to 3 capsules every 4 to 6 hours.
  8. Stress management. Develop a plan to avoid or limit overexertion and emotional stress. Allow yourself time each day to relax. Quitting work and ceasing all activity tends to have a negative impact on people’s lives. Try stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation.

What Test Can Confirm Fibromyalgia?

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor would check 18 specific points on a person’s body to see how many of them were painful when pressed firmly. To meet the criteria, you must have pain in at least four of these five areas:

  • Left upper regions such as shoulder, arm, or jaw
  • Right upper region, including shoulder, arm, or jaw
  • Left lower region, including hip, buttock, or leg
  • The right lower region that includes the buttock or leg
  • The axial region, which includes the neck, chest, back, or abdomen

Your doctor may also rule out several tests to determine other conditions that cause the problem. The test may include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Anti-nuclear antibody
  • Celiac serology
  • Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
  • Vitamin D
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate

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