Health Concerns - Fibromyalgia
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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common disorder characterized by widespread, achy pain, muscle stiffness and tenderness over joints and soft tissues. It is also sometimes referred to as Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibrositis. The cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia patients are found to have multiple tender points in certain muscle areas. Commonly affected areas include the neck, shoulders, lower back and hip. Fibromyalgia may also be accompanied by fatigue and sleep disturbances. It may be mild in some, while totally incapacitating in others.

Many patients with fibromyalgia describe their pain as similar to the pain accompanying with a flu-like symptoms. Muscle discomfort throughout the body and intense fatigue are classic symptoms of this disorder.

Who is affected by Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia usually occurs in females. It can appear at all ages and may be intensified by stress, poor sleep, change in weather, hormonal fluctuations, trauma or other medical conditions. The onset of pain and/or stiffness is usually gradual and aggravated by overuse. It is important to be evaluated for other muscular and skeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and others.

What are the other symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can be accompanied by the symptoms of several of other disorders. Patients commonly have the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome) and sensitivity to multiple stimuli:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome can be found in roughly half of fibromyalgia patients.
  • Headaches are usually classified as tension or migraine types and occur in roughly half of fibromyalgia patients.
  • TMJD is a common cause of facial pain. Fibromyalgia patients commonly note symptoms consistent with TMJD, which is associated with discomfort related to the numerous facial muscles and supporting ligaments.
  • Light and noise sensitivity is common among fibromyalgia patients.These stimuli may act as a trigger for their headaches. Sensitivity to certain medications is also noticed, therefore care is given when prescribing agents to help with symptoms. Medication sensitivity is also common therefore care is given when prescribing medications to help with symptoms.

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Although there is no known cure, the symptoms of fibromyalgia may improve spontaneously and recur at frequent intervals. Treatments are aimed at reducing pain and improving sleep patterns. Certain exercises aimed at flexibility can be effective to manage the disorder. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, and local heat can be effective for flare-ups. Certain medications can alter the chemical messengers in the brain and alter the response to pain associated with fibromyalgia. There are many examples of these types of medications, including paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) amitriptylline (Elavil), and fluoxetine (Prozax). Medications that help to relax muscles aches, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) can also be helpful. Other treatments commonly used include physical therapy and chiropractic care, acupuncture, therapeutic massage and flexibility training. Ultimately, a personalized comprehensive program combining multiple treatment modalities is the most effective management strategy. Although the impact of fibromyalgia on quality of life and daily living activities can be significant, many patients can significantly improve with proper diagnosis and treatment.

The information provided by MenopauseRx, Inc. is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health-care provider. Please consult your health-care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.