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Causes of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia refers to a syndrome that causes pain and tenderness of the joints and muscles. It is often referred to as an arthritis related disorder, but it is not really an arthritic condition since it does not result in damage and inflammation to the joints, muscles and other body tissues. However, fibromyalgia can cause a great deal of pain and tiredness and it can impair daily activities. The causes of fibromyalgia as still unknown, but what is known is that fibromyalgia consists of a group of symptoms and medical conditions that occur simultaneously. These conditions are however not triggered by one specific cause and so it is thought that there are a variety of causes of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is considered to be a rheumatic condition that leads to impairment and chronic pain in the joints or soft tissues of the body. Some of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleep disturbances, irritable bowel syndrome, headache, numbness in the limbs, tingling sensation in the extremities and sensitivity to bright light and loud noise. Individuals with fibromyalgia may also experience memory problems, muscle and joint stiffness in the mornings, restlessness in the legs and sensitivity to temperature. Women may go through painful menstrual periods. Fibromyalgia is not a disease in itself but rather a syndrome.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Although there is clarity regarding fibromyalgia symptoms, fibromyalgia symptoms causes remain unknown till date. It is possible that physical or emotional disturbances may play a part in this condition. Individuals with fibromyalgia seem to have abnormal responses to pain. This can either occur on its own or due to other secondary conditions such as systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Sleep disturbances are a common occurrence in fibromyalgia cases and it has been suggested that these disturbances may be causing the problem. Changes in skeletal muscle metabolism due to decreased blood circulation are also associated with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia symptoms also include tender points that are about 11 to 18 in number and are located throughout the body. When these points are pressed, there is localized pain. These are different from trigger points, which when touched lead to widespread pain. The tender points are present at various areas of the body such as the lower neck, upper and mid back, elbows, outer muscles of the buttocks, upper thighs and knees. Fibromyalgia is an incurable condition and the treatment options are deigned to cope with the collection of symptoms. The primary effects of fibromyalgia are widespread pain and fatigue and treatment is aimed at providing relief from the discomfort and disability.

In minor cases of fibromyalgia, the symptoms subside when there is a reduction in stress. Usually a combination of medication, patient education, exercise and counseling is used in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Certain antidepressant medication are administered to relieve fatigue, anxiety, depression and to improve sleep. These medications help to relax the muscles and alleviate pain. There are no specific dietary changes that are known to bring about improvement in the condition. However, eliminating coffee, alcohol and artificial preservatives is known to promote better sleep. Fitness of the body is essential in dealing with symptoms of fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise is usually recommended. The individual may begin slowly with low impact routines such as swimming or walking. This helps to stretch and relax the affected muscles. Relaxation techniques are beneficial in reducing stress and may be incorporated into the daily routine. Fibromyalgia is a chronic problem and hence the symptoms are likely to persist. However, with the right measures the symptoms may improve. In other cases, the symptoms may also become aggravated and continue for longer periods of time. It is important to seek professional help at the earliest so that the individual can obtain relief and learn how to cope with the symptoms. This requires proper management and early treatment of the disorder. An exact description of the individual’s fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points is necessary for the doctor to make a definite diagnosis.

Submitted on January 16, 2014