Fibromyalgia is a common condition in which people experience symptoms that include widespread pain and tenderness in the body, often accompanied by fatigue and problems with memory and concentration.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms are:
Less common symptoms may include:
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from day to day and symptoms may disappear for extended periods of time, perhaps even years.
No one knows what causes fibromyalgia. It’s thought that it may be the result of genetic and environmental factors (such as exposure to a virus or illness).
It’s also believed that physical or emotional stress can trigger the start of fibromyalgia symptoms. However, fibromyalgia may also appear without any obvious cause.
Fibromyalgia is more common in people with:
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but treatment can help you manage your symptoms.
At times the symptoms you experience as a result of your fibromyalgia (such as pain or fatigue) will become more intense. This is called a flare. Flares can be triggered or made worse by several factors including:
Triggers vary from person to person. Understanding the things that cause your fibromyalgia to flare means that you can be prepared and take steps to lessen the effect they will have on you and your life.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are common to many other conditions. This means that it may take some time to establish a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, which can be very frustrating.
Your doctor will take your medical history and description of your symptoms, and do a physical examination.
You may also have tests, including blood tests, x-rays or scans. While these tests cannot diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor may use them to rule out other conditions.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, your symptoms can be effectively managed. This starts with a correct diagnosis. A management program will then be designed to meet your specific needs.
Generally, management of fibromyalgia will involve a combination of:
In addition to medication to tackle pain, there are other medications that can help fibromyalgia sufferers, such as anti-depressants or ani-epileptic medications.
Fibromyalgia research is growing, and it is believed that scientists are finally making progress toward understanding this complex condition.
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