Fibromyalgia: The 17 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 27): Fibromyalgia – The 17 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Fibromyalgia
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Fibromyalgia is a common chronic neurological condition that is characterized by widespread pain across the body. It affects the central nervous system due to which the body’s pain response is amplified.

Despite the fact that it does not cause any serious problem or physical deformities, or loss of life, yet the pain does have a substantial impact on the patient’s quality of life. This is due to the fact that it impairs a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and has an impact on cognitive skills such as the ability to think, reason, and recall things. 

Let’s explore exactly what the disorder is, identify its symptoms and understand how it can be overcome so that you can live your life to the fullest.

 

FAQ #1: What is fibromyalgia?

The word “fibromyalgia” means pain in the muscles and fibrous tissues (tissues that connect bones, ligaments and tendons).

 

FAQ #2: What are its main clinical signs and symptoms?

Identifying fibromyalgia can be challenging since it usually presents itself differently in different individuals. However, there are a few common warning signs of fibromyalgia to look out for. These include: 

 

    • Fatigue
    • Lack of energy
    • Fibro fog
    • Muscle twitches or cramps
    • Musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, fatigue and tenderness 
    • Sleep and cognitive disturbances 
    • Anxiety and/or depression
    • Headaches
    • Gastrointestinal problems

 

FAQ #3: What causes fibromyalgia?

Current thinking in the field of Rheumatology suggests that the factors that may contribute to its development include: 

 

    • Emotional stress
    • Injury (especially in the neck or upper body)
    • Decreased blood flow in the tissues
    • Changes in levels of a brain nerve chemical 
    • Family history of fibromyalgia

 

FAQ #4: Is the disorder real?

Fibromyalgia is a real condition. However, it is still poorly understood. In fact, in the past, some medical professionals have questioned if fibromyalgia was real. It’s a lot better understood now and some of the stigmas attached to it have now eased.

 

FAQ #5: What triggers fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is often triggered by:

 

    • A stressful event
    • Physical stress
    • Emotional (psychological) stress
    • An injury
    • A viral infection

 

FAQ #6: What are the trigger points for fibromyalgia?

The most common trigger points include:

 

    • Back of the head
    • Tops of the shoulders
    • Upper chest
    • Hips
    • Knees
    • Outer elbows

 

FAQ #7: Who is at risk?

Middle-aged women, particularly those between the ages of 35 and 55, are most commonly affected. It can, however, afflict men, children, and the elderly as well. 

 

FAQ #8: Does fibromyalgia cause fatigue?

Yes. Fibromyalgia can lead to fatigue or extreme tiredness. It’s debilitating and bone-weary exhaustion that depletes your body’s vitality and makes it difficult to perform the smallest chores.

 

FAQ #9: What is fibro fog like?

Fibro fog is a term some people use to describe the hazy feeling patients experience. The most commonly reported fibro fog symptoms include: 

 

    • Forgetfulness
    • Problems remembering new information
    • Reduced ability to think quickly
    • Difficulty concentrating 
    • Reduced alertness
    • Disorientation

 

FAQ #10: Is fibromyalgia a genetic disorder?

The chances of having fibromyalgia are several times higher where fibromyalgia runs in the family than in families where no one has fibromyalgia.

 

FAQ #11: Is fibromyalgia dangerous?

No. The disorder is not life-threatening and does not cause deformity or damage to the tissues. 

 

FAQ #12: Can fibromyalgia go away?

Yes, it does. Fibromyalgia goes away on its own in a substantial number of people.

 

FAQ #13: Can fibromyalgia be prevented?

Given that the causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown, there is currently no way to prevent the onset of this debilitating condition.

 

FAQ #14: How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia is a disease that is challenging to diagnose and treat. Even for healthcare professionals, this disease might be difficult to comprehend as its symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses.

It doesn’t create inflammation and can’t be detected by laboratory blood tests, X rays or muscle tissue samples. Since no diagnostic test exists that can accurately confirm the condition, the diagnosis can only be made based on the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and the doctor’s examination.

 

FAQ #15: How is fibromyalgia treated?

A successful treatment plan for fibromyalgia includes self-management. This includes:

 

    • Awareness about the disease
    • Exercise programs
    • rRlaxation techniques 
    • Stress management
    • Eating well-balanced meals 
    • Maintaining proper weight
    • Taking care of joints 
    • Using assistive devices to relieve pressure on joints

 

FAQ #16: What happens if fibromyalgia is left untreated?

Symptoms such as persistent pain, exhaustion, headaches, and depression can become progressively worse over time if fibromyalgia is left untreated. Fibromyalgia has a significant impact on mental health, and untreated fibromyalgia can increase anxiety and mood disorders.

 

FAQ #17: When should a person get help for fibromyalgia?

A health care expert should be consulted if pain or excessive exhaustion interferes with a person’s quality of life, career, relationships or normal daily activities. Learning to control pain and cope with stress often necessitates the assistance of a health expert.

 

Final thoughts

Fibromyalgia is still somewhat of a mysterious disease. Because it is mostly an invisible condition, fibromyalgia is particularly tough to explain to friends and family. Most persons who suffer from it appear to be in good health on the outside. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The key goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and minimise discomfort by cultivating self-compassion on the hardest and most painful days.

 

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