What Is Fibromyalgia And How Do I Cope With It?

By: Roland Jefferson III

Fibromyalgia, also known as non-articular rheumatism, soft tissue rheumatism and fibrositis, is a condition that affects muscles, tendons and ligaments. It gives a widespread pain in all joints that connect the bones. Fibromyalgia causes people to have trouble of sleeping and regular fatigue.

Although fibromyalgia is a recent term, it is a very common disease, affecting over three percent of all people. However, this disease is more likely to develop in women rather than men. The risk of having fibromyalgia also increases with age.

People with this condition usually experience stiffness and pain of muscles, joints or their entire body, especially in the morning. Some people report numbness in joist and muscles, poor concentration and memory. Other warning signs of this condition include migraine, depression, headaches and jaw pains.

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include pain or swelling of joints and tissues. Because of this, patients may have trouble sleeping, become tired easily or feel weak every day. Some people experience dryness in their eyes, develop sensitivities to medications and certain foods or become vulnerable to cold. Some patients report pain in the abdomen and joint dysfunction.

Fibromyalgia may occur because of illness, infections, accidents, injuries, stress, emotional and physical trauma or surgery. However, the exact causes of this condition are unknown.

Treatments And Prevention

When your doctor believes you may have fibromyalgia, he or she may refer you to a certified rheumatologist because these doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatments of conditions related to bones, muscles and joints. Usually, a person with this condition experiences widespread pain for three months or more.

Unfortunately, there are no known cures for fibromyalgia. However, patients can perform a few things to manage their condition and lessen the symptoms associated with it. Medications are available to reduce pain. These include medications that increase serotonin levels, such as tetracyclic and tricyclic antidepressant medications as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Rheumatologists often recommend patients with this disease to follow regular exercise routines to reduce overall pain and strengthen bones, joints and muscles. Patients should start with mild exercises to prevent muscle straining and promote strengthening of muscles.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia also reduce when heat is applied. It also helps in relaxing stressed muscles and reducing swelling or pain. Applying hot compress or taking a hot shower can give patients temporary relief from widespread pain. While fibromyalgia can affect the lives of the patients significantly, some patients lead a healthy and normal life when treated early.

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