Posted on Apr 18, 2012 | Comments 0
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder which is extremely painful. The roots of the word are from Latin “fibro” which relates to fibrous tissues, Greek “myo” which relates to muscles and Greek “algos” which refers to pain. When put together the word represents muscle and connective tissue pain. For a person suffering from this illness pain is widespread in the musculoskeletal region.
What is fibromyalgia’s physical indication?
The physical symptoms of the disorder can often be confused with arthritis. Fibromyalgia is not an arthritis related disorder as that is a disease of the joints. However the widespread and chronic pain can be often confused by the patient leading him to believe that he is suffering from arthritis. It is a rheumatic condition which impairs the joint and soft tissue and can cause long term pain.
Other physical indications of the disorder would include disturbed sleep, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, trouble with cognition, memory problems, numbing pain or tingling in the extremities, restless leg syndrome, high sensitivity to temperature, increased sensitivity to loud noise and bright lights.
In case of females there may be extremely painful menstrual periods as well.
What is fibromyalgia’s diagnosis?
Since fibromyalgia is more of a collection of signs and symptoms rather than a disease a person may have more than one condition which causes the chronic pain. This makes it difficult for a specific cause to be determined for the existence of the disorder.
There is no single standard test for the diagnosis of this disorder. In fact there was considerable argument over whether an objective diagnosis is possible in a patient with the symptoms of the disorder.
Finally in 1990 the American College of Rheumatology defined fibromyalgia based on the pretense of the following criteria. There has to be widespread pain that lasts more than three months. The main must affect all four quadrants of the body. Of the 18 designated tender points the person must feel pain at 11 or more for it to be diagnosed as the disorder. These are the current guidelines that a doctor needs to follow to diagnose the disease today.
What is fibromyalgia’s treatment?
Once diagnosed the treatment begins. Again here as with the diagnosis, there is no standard treatment for this disorder. The doctors who tend to specialize in treatment of other conditions which affect the soft tissue and joints, such as arthritis are better qualified to treat the disease. The medication will cover three broad approaches. Analgesics will be used as pain killers. Non-steroidal anti inflammatory medication can be used to treat the muscle aches, menstrual cramps and headaches.
Antidepressants may be used for elevating the levels of chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals help not just with depression but also with pain and fatigue. The medication may not always be enough to treat fibromyalgia. Alternative and complementary therapies such as massage, pilates, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, acupressure, etc. may also be beneficial to the patient.
What is fibromyalgia’s prognosis?
The disorder is a chronic one and will last a very longtime. Patients must be prepared to live with the disorder lifelong. It is not a progressive disease and so will not get worse with time. Also it is not fatal, but can take getting used to the pain. Over a period of time with regular treatment the pain may begin to reduce.
Posted in: Muscle & Bone Disorders