Symptoms and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disease characterized by joint pain, fatigue, insomnia and depression. What is fibromyalgia pain, and is it severe? Pain from fibromyalgia generally occurs in the muscles and soft tissue and can vary in severity.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, and many fibromyalgia patients spend frustrating years traipsing between medical professionals before getting a good diagnosis. Because there are no lab tests to confirm fibromyalgia and the symptoms may come and go, the medical profession has struggled to formulate a useful set of criteria for diagnosis and have finally settled on guidelines that include at least three months of unexplained pain.
Another difficulty with diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia is that its symptoms are similar to other illnesses. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are sometimes linked, for example. Both cause sufferers to feel exhausted, and many people who have one are diagnosed with the other as well.
Fibromyalgia vs. arthritis can also be an area of confusion. However, fibromyalgia rarely involves joint swelling unlike arthritis, and the tender points of pain throughout the body in fibromyalgia are not typical of arthritis. In fact, joint pain and fibromyalgia do not usually accompany one another. Joint pain tends to indicate arthritis although fibromyalgia patients do occasionally report suffering from joint pain as well.
Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, it can be treated in a number of different ways. In some patients, there is a relationship between diet and fibromyalgia. Results vary, but avoiding caffeine and getting more vitamin D have both been shown to help. A well-balanced diet with a minimum of processed food is always a good idea. Patients may also find it helpful to find what works for them individually and journal how they feel after eating different types of food.
Physical therapy and exercise are another component of fibromyalgia treatment as is some cognitive behavioral therapy. However, sometimes the pain of fibromyalgia is severe enough that medication is needed. Muscle relaxants, anti-seizure medication and other pain relievers may be prescribed while anti-depressants and sleep aids can help with other symptoms.
For many years, fibromyalgia sufferers fought against a medical community that largely dismissed their symptoms, but today most doctors understand the disease better. Treatments and support are much better than in the past, and fibromyalgia sufferers can get a good deal of relief from their symptoms.