Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing.
Fibromyalgia affects about 2% of the adult population. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be effectively treated and managed.
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
▪ Pain and stiffness all over the body
▪ Fatigue and tiredness
▪ Depression and anxiety
▪ Sleep problems
▪ Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
▪ Headaches, including migraines
Other symptoms may include:
▪ Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
▪ Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome
▪ Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome
What are the risk factors for fibromyalgia?
▪ Age. Fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages, including children. However, most people are diagnosed during middle age and you are more likely to have fibromyalgia as you get older.
▪ Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Some other factors have been weakly associated with the onset of fibromyalgia, but more research is needed to see if they are real. These possible risk factors include:
▪ Sex. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men.
▪ Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder
▪ Repetitive injuries. Injury from repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending.
▪ Illness (such as viral infections)
▪ Family history
Fibromyalgia can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Fibromyalgia should be treated by a doctor or team of healthcare professionals who specialise in the treatment of fibromyalgia and other types of arthritis, called rheumatologists. Doctors usually treat fibromyalgia with a combination of treatments, which may include:
▪ Medications, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers
▪ Aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening exercise
▪ Patient education classes
▪ Stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and massage
▪ Good sleep habits to improve the quality of sleep
▪ Cognitive behavioural therapy to treat underlying depression.
In addition to medical treatment, people can manage their fibromyalgia with the self-management strategies described below, which are proven to reduce pain and disability, so they can pursue the activities important to them.
▪ Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week. Walk, swim, or bike 30 minutes a day for five days a week. These 30 minutes can be broken into three separate ten-minute sessions during the day. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
▪ Go to recommended physical activity programmes. Those concerned about how to safely exercise can participate in physical activity programmes that are proven effective for reducing pain and disability related to arthritis and improving mood and the ability to move.
▪ Join a self-management education class, which helps people with arthritis or other conditions – including fibromyalgia – be more confident in how to control their symptoms, how to live well and understand how the condition affects their lives.
Article submitted by HPA Health Group