Fibromyalgia: Symptoms and Treatment Options
This illness is characterized by non-specific body tenderness and other chronic pains. Scientists have yet to determine the exact pathology, but many assume that it can arise from the combination of different life events. Acute emotional trauma or stress may be contributing factors as are genetic influences or central nervous system abnormalities.
Nonetheless, fibromyalgia is classified as an autoimmune disorder, as it tends to attack the body's joints, bones and other areas over time. Interestingly enough, it is worthwhile mentioning that the majority of sufferers are women; up to ninety percent in many cases.
Contributing medical factors include:
- Acute stress or anxiety.
- Central nervous system abnormalities.
- A genetic predisposition.
- Gender (women are much more likely to contract this diesease).
The main indicators that one may have this disease are generalized by pain, particularly in the joints. This pain may be more profound in the morning or during bouts of cold weather. Fatigue is also a predominant indicator and when accompanied by muscle aches, many sufferers may mistake these signals as chronic fatigue syndrome. Other common ailments that accompany this disease include headaches (particularly migraines), nausea, lack of appetite and tingling in the extremities.
Indicators of fibromyalgia:
- Generalized muscle and joint pains.
- Chronic exhaustion.
- Lack of appetite.
- Tingling in the arms and legs.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
It is necessary for a medical practitioner to properly diagnose this illness, yet this can prove to be difficult, for many of the aforementioned indicators are rather general by their nature and may signal another disorder. Due to this, a doctor will usually make a diagnosis based off of the patient's description of his or her discomfort. This is a rather malleable area and it is hoped that biological indicators may eventually be found that can accurately help in the certain diagnosis and treatment for fibromyalgia.
Treatment will frequently be performed by a team of specialists including doctors, physical therapists and pharmacologists. One characteristic of all such treatments is that they will be based directly off of the patient's response. Painkillers can be used in cases of severe discomfort although they will do little to treat the actual disease. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are frequently employed as they are known to treat inflammation and joint pains.
However, alternative therapies can be of great value. They will include a specifically designed exercise regime, stretches, modification in one's diet and the use of herbs to stimulate blood flow such as ginger or guarana. It is important to note that these are all used for pain relief. They will not reverse the condition.
Common remedies include:
- A diagnosis based off of patient-driven data.
- Analgesics (painkillers).
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Alternative therapies such as diet, exercise and certain herbal supplements.