Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that results in extreme pain and tenderness throughout the body. The condition is often misdiagnosed, as the common symptoms are widespread muscle and joint pain, which mimics the conditions like arthritis or joint inflammation. Also Read: World Arthritis Day: Simple And Effective Tips To Manage Joint Pain
There is no complete cure, however, a combination therapy that includes medications, lifestyle modifications, healthy eating practices, regular exercise and managing stress helps to ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
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The exact cause for fibromyalgia is still not known, however, doctors suggest that it may be due to a defect in the brain and spinal cord process which triggers the pain signals in the nerves. Some of the triggers which increases the risk of fibromyalgia include:
- Common in women
- People suffering from arthritis or any infection
- Anxiety, depression and mood disorder
- Physical inactivity
- People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Generalized pain throughout the body
- Lower threshold for pain
- Painful stimulus to pressure at many points on the body
Other Common Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include:
- Improper sleeping pattern
- Stiffness in muscles and joints
- Dry mouth and nose
- Sensitivity to heat, sound and light
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Poor memory and remembering called fibro fog
- Anxiety and depression
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctors generally diagnose the patient by evaluating a complete medical and family history. There is no specific medical test, however, the doctors will rule out if the patient is suffering from any underlying conditions like arthritis, thyroid and lupus. Some of the criteria used to assess the patients include:
- History of pain and other symptoms lasting for more than three months.
- Levels of fatigue, poor sleep pattern and cognitive problems.
- Absence of other health issues that would relate to the symptoms.
A proper treatment plan is required as fibromyalgia can be hard to manage, each patient may experience different nature of symptoms, and hence treatment plan should be tailored. Some of the modes of treatment include:
- Exercise program
- Acupuncture therapy
- Behaviour modification therapy
- Physical therapy
Therapeutic management recommended to improve the condition include:
The diet should focus on high energy and fibre rich foods that are low in sugars like nuts, wholegrain cereals, butter fruit and tofu. This helps to boost energy levels throughout the day and reduce fatigue. Also Read: Amazing Fibre Rich Indian Foods
As fibromyalgia is linked with irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease, it is best to avoid gluten-rich foods.
Avoid all processed foods and foods with additives.
It is vital to maintain a nutritious, well-balanced diet and ideal weight to enhance the quality of life. Evidence has revealed that fibromyalgia can be managed well and pain can be relieved as the patients lose weight.
Over the counter medications are given to ease pain and antidepressants are prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and other mental disorder associated with fibromyalgia.
Aerobic, strength training and resistance training exercise regimen are proven to reduce pain, tenderness and stiffness. Exercise therapy also supports to promote the sleep pattern. For better results, patients should be consistent with the exercise schedule.
Acupuncture had helped patients suffering from fibromyalgia to enhance their quality of life. The session required depends on the severity of symptoms. Regular acupuncture treatment had helped to alleviate pain and stiffness.
Behaviour Modification Therapy
Cognitive therapy is aimed to lessen negativity, stress, or stimulus elevating pain and improve emotional well-being, positive vibes and overall behaviour change. Behaviour therapy includes adapting relaxation techniques and learning new coping skills.