Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disorder that causes muscle and joint pain as well as fatigue. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is called a syndrome as it usually presents with a set number of symptoms. These symptoms include pain in the muscles and joints all over the body, weakness and fatigue which can become incapacitating, a pain threshold that decreases over time and tender spots all over the body as well as anxiety and depression.

It is reported that there are over 10 million people in America who have fibromyalgia. Out of those millions, most of those people are women who range in age from 26 to age 60. Statistics show that women are much more likely to get this syndrome than men are.

So what exactly does fibromyalgia do to your body and how does it make you feel? Women report that when their fibromyalgia flares up that they feel like they ache all over like they have a bad case of the flu. They state that they are so fatigued that they have to go to bed. Their muscles feel extremely sore like they have worked out at the gym or have been pulled out of place. They complain of trigger points or sore spots in different areas of the body. Other women complain of muscles that twitch, or burning, and stabbing pain in the muscles.

Other symptoms that have been reported with fibromyalgia include stiffness, chronic headaches, abdominal pain, poor circulation and tingling in the hands and feet, problems with sleeping, restless leg syndrome, painful menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome and incontinence. Fibromyalgia has even caused symptoms that are very similar to arthritis and tendonitis. They have swelling and tenderness in the joints and tendons.

Since there are no blood tests that will positively diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors usually diagnose fibromyalgia syndrome by excluding other illnesses. The diagnosis is usually made after a thorough history and physical including laboratory work that will rule out such things as diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and Lyme’s Disease.

At this time there is no cure for fibromyalgia. There are medications that can treat some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some of the medications that have been used to treat fibromyalgia include Cymbalta and Lyrica. These drugs have been successfully used to treat nerve pain for other diseases such as diabetic neuropathy. Doctors feel that these drugs might be helpful in treating the pain of fibromyalgia.

Other drugs that have been used to treat fibromyalgia include tri-cyclic antidepressants such as Elavil and a muscle relaxer such as Flexeril has been helpful in treating this type of pain. Other combinations that have been helpful in treating fibromyalgia pain include Effexor which is a reuptake inhibitor and Ultram which is a medication to relieve pain.

Physicians have used medications such as Prozac or Paxil in order to help relieve the symptoms of depression or the inability to sleep for some women with this syndrome. They have found that these drugs have been helpful in treating depression, pain and insomnia.

Interestingly enough researchers found that the Cox-2 drugs and NSAID’s were not effective in treating fibromyalgia pain. Stronger pain medications such as controlled substances are only used for pain when all other avenues have been tried and have not been successful.

Some alternative therapies that have been found to be helpful for fibromyalgia include therapeutic massage. Massage manipulates deep tissue in the muscles and can reduce inflammation which can ease the muscle pain of this syndrome. The American Pain Society also recommends doing aerobic exercise on a regular basis to help keep pain levels down as well as other treatments such as hypnosis and acupuncture to relieve fibromyalgia pain.

Last updated on Sep 16th, 2009 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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