All You Need To Know About Fibromyalgia
Even though fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting your bones and muscles, it’s often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. This disorder is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Additional symptoms include sleep, memory and mood issues.
However, there isn’t really a known cause of fibromyalgia. Additionally, there is no set cure; although a combination of medication, exercise, managing your stress, and healthy habits may ease your symptoms. So what are some commone symptoms of fibromyalgia? Who is more at risk when it comes to fibromyalgia?
1. The Symptoms
There are a few main symptoms that characterize fibromyalgia. They are:
- Widespread pain: The pain associated with fibromyalgia is described as a constant dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue: People with fibromyalgia awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties: A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
2. Possible Cause and Risk
There is no proven cause of fibromyalgia. However, it is likely caused by a combination of factors such as:
- Genetics: Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
- Infections: Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional trauma: Fibromyalgia is sometimes triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.
Additionally, you are more at risk of getting fibromyalgia if you:
- You’re a woman.
- Have another painful disease, such as arthritis, or an infection.
- If you have a mood disorder, like anxiety or depression.
- Have been physically or emotionally abused or have PTSD.
- You rarely exercise.
- Other family members have it.
3. Why Does It Hurt?
Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain.
In addition, the brain’s pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals. While there is no definite cause of fibromyalgia, most doctors believe it’s a problem with how your brain and spinal cord process pain signals from your nerves.
4. What’s The Solution?
One of the best ways to help control your fibromyalgia is through exercise. You’ll want to do low-impact activities that build your endurance, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and improve your ability to move easily. Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and even walking are great for fibromyalgia.
Exercise also releases endorphins, which fight pain, stress, and may even help you sleep better. Additionally, complimentary therapies, including massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatments can help manage symptoms.
The Fibromyalgia Takeaway
All in all, fibromyalgia is a debilitating disorder that can make it difficult to do daily tasks. However, a combination of medications and exercise can help you manage your symptoms and live life normally.
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