Fibromyalgia is a common musculoskeletal condition. It is second in terms of prevalence next to osteoarthritis. And yet fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed and also misunderstood. The characteristics include widespread pain in the muscles and joints as well as fatigue. Fibromyalgia can eventually lead to social isolation and depression.
What is fibromyalgia syndrome?
A syndrome is considered a set of symptoms and when all of the symptoms exist at the same time they imply the presence of one specific disease or they imply the chance of a specific disease developing. Fibromyalgia syndrome is diagnosed when an individual suffers from anxiety or depression, decreased pain thresholds, incapacitating fatigue, and widespread pain.
Women are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia compared to men. Women are 10 times more likely to suffer from this disease compared to men. In fact 12 million Americans currently suffer from this condition and most of them are women.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia causes aching all over the body. In some cases someone may suffer from crippling fatigue even the moment they wake up. Specific tender points on the body can be extremely painful to touch and individuals may experience swelling, mood disturbances, disturbances in their sleep, or depression.
The muscles might feel as though they have been overworked. This feeling can exist even without exercise. In some cases the muscles twitch or they burn. Some patients who suffer from fibromyalgia might have pain in her joints in the hips, neck, shoulder, and back. This pain can make it difficult to sleep or exercise. Additional symptoms include abdominal pain, incontinence, the inability to concentrate, chronic headaches, dryness in the nose or the eyes, hypersensitivity to heat or cold, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness in the fingers and the feet, or stiffness. Fibromyalgia can cause feelings which are similar to tendinitis or osteoarthritis.
What are the tests done to diagnose this?
In order to diagnose fibromyalgia your doctor at pain clinics in Atlanta will complete a comprehensive physical exam. In some cases a blood test is done which searches for markers produced by your immune system blood cells. In order to rule out a serious illness your doctor at Pain Management Atlanta may run specific blood test such as a complete blood count. Tests for chemicals like glucose can also be done to determine whether any other condition exists. Once your doctor sees that your symptoms satisfy the criteria for fibromyalgia they may monitor you to see if the pain persists for a minimum of three months. At this point the doctor will evaluate the severity of each of your symptoms and measure the impact that they have on your physical and emotional functioning and on your quality-of-life.
What is the treatment?
There is no cure. The treatment simply addresses the symptoms individually. Each program has to be designed for each individual and their symptoms, and the severity of their symptoms therein. A treatment program will typically include a culmination of exercises, behavioral techniques, and medications based on what needs to be done to address the symptoms.