Updated: Aug 19
You have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. What is it? How will it impact my life? How do I manage the symptoms? The questions are spinning in your head and you are unsure of what's next. We are here to help you sort it out. We will start by answering some of these questions for you.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that has a myriad of symptoms. The most common symptoms are chronic widespread pain, fatigue, memory, and mood problems. Researchers believe that chronic pain is caused by the way a person's brain and spinal cord process pain.
The pain of Fibromyalgia is chronic and occurs over the whole body. Pain will happen on the lower and upper halves as well as on the left and right sides. Patients will often have tender points near but not on the joints. These painful areas are small and the pain is often more surface than deep. Yet, deep muscle pain in other areas of the body is also common. Pressure on the tender points can be extremely painful. Stiffness and soreness after sitting or lying down are also common.
Co-existing problems can include the following:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Migraine and other types of headaches
Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
Temporomandibular joint disorders
Who gets Fibromyalgia?
Approximately 10 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is about 2-4% of the population. Women more commonly are diagnosed with it than men. Most people who are patients with FM are diagnosed in middle age though children through senior citizens can develop Fibromyalgia. People with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia.
Genetics seems to have some influence on who gets Fibromyalgia since often because it runs in families. FM can be set off by an illness, infection, or other traumatic events. Stress also plays a part in the development of the disorder and bouts of increased pain, often referred to as flare-ups. A flare or flare-up is a period when symptoms increase in intensity.
How do I cope with pain and other symptoms?
There are many ways to cope with the pain, fatigue, and depression of Fibromyalgia. Medications can help manage pain, sleeping problems, and other symptoms. It is important to be under the care of a doctor who can help you navigate through the various types of medications and alternative treatments available. We at Maryland Primary Care and Wellness are here to help you achieve optimal health and wellness.
Therapies and treatments that can help decrease and cope with symptoms are physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, bodywork or therapeutic massage, and acupuncture. Things you can do at home can include meditation,
exercise, managing stress, pacing yourself, and practice sleep hygiene.
Fibromyalgia is not curable. But with good medical care and self-care patients with this diagnosis can still live with purpose, meaning, and quality of life.