Fibromyalgia relief

Fibromyalgia is now the accepted name for a condition that used to be known as musculoskeletal pain syndrome. The name may be updated but the diagnosis still remains a controversial one as there are still those in the medical community who discount the validity of the condition. The controversy arises over the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms as well as the psychological aspects of the syndrome that have been observed.

The syndrome is classified as a rheumatic condition, related to arthritis, with the major symptoms being muscle and joint pain over large parts of the body and fatigue. Usually these symptoms are also accompanied by a lowered pain threshold, anxiety and depression. The lowered pain threshold is the major reason why so many remain skeptical over the validity of fibromyalgia as a specific disease.

The disease affects roughly ten times more women than it does men but science has yet to determine why that is. One theory is that it is not actually this imbalanced but that men remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed more often than women do. Perhaps with further research the truth will be found but until then, it appears to affect far more women than men.

Generally fibromyalgia sufferers start off with widespread muscle aches and joint pain, usually accompanied by debilitating fatigue. Some people will also experience muscle twitching or burning for no apparent reason. These symptoms often appear at the same time as depression and sleep disturbances, one reason that the physical signs may be dismissed as relating to the psychological aspects of the disease.

There are other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia but most victims will have only some of them, making each person seem to have a different problem (another reason for misdiagnosis). A person may experience several of these symptoms at the same time during acute periods while experiencing none during other times. Common complaints include stomach pain, dry mouth or eyes, chronic headache, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, stiff joints, incontinence, sensitivity to hot or cold and even incontinence.

Reaching a diagnosis can be a long process as there are no specific tests to determine if you have fibromyalgia. It is more a process of eliminating everything that it is not, before determining what it actually is. The doctor will usually do extensive blood tests to rule out many other conditions. Of course, you also must meet the diagnostic criteria which will always include widespread pain that lasts for three months or longer. That means the pain will be on both sides of the body, above and below the waist and will be present in at least one of the chest, neck or back.

There isn’t any specific treatment for fibromyalgia as a condition. Instead, treatment options are all aimed at relieving specific symptoms. Typically a sufferer will be prescribed a medication to reduce or control the pain as well as an antidepressant to deal with the emotional aspects of the disease. Behavioral techniques such as stress management are often used in conjunction with the medications as stress has been shown to aggravate the condition and bring on acute episodes.

Some alternative therapies have produced success in some patients but they have not been subject to many verifiable studies. Therapeutic, deep tissue massage has been known to be a help in relieving the pain, at least temporarily. Some also find relief through acupuncture, hypnosis and even chiropractic manipulation.

Whether you choose to go with medications, alternative therapies or a combination of both, there are some things you should do to help your body deal with this sometimes devastating condition. Eat a balanced diet so that your body receives the nutrition needed to support repair and building of muscle tissue, exercise regularly and get enough sleep each day so that you will be in optimal health in order to deal with the affects of this musculoskeletal pain syndrome.

Last updated on Oct 4th, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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