Today my friends, I would like to discuss a chronic condition that I am sure all of us have heard about or you might even suffer from and that is Fibromyalgia! I know the many difficulties and pain this disease inflicts on people lives. There is a lot of controversy about this disease– some people even question if it is a disease!! Well, I can tell you it is a real physical condition.
I would like to try to educate you on some facts versa fiction on fibromyalgia. My hope is that if you are one of the individuals that have the misfortune of having this complicated and debilitating syndrome that I can help in some small way to manage it and understand it.
If you are one the people who believe that Fibromyalgia does not exist I truly hope I will be able to help you understand that is very real and put to rest some of the misconceptions that exist.
1. Is it a real disease?
Answer: Actually that is true in one sense because it is not a disease it is a disorder or sometimes referred as a syndrome which just means that it is a collection of symptoms and other medical problems that occur together.
It was described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece as on of the oldest medical mysteries.
According to the Mayo Clinic –Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
In 1987, the American Medical Association (AMA) acknowledged fibromyalgia as a true illness and a potential cause of disability. Many well-respected organizations, such as the AMA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO), have accepted fibromyalgia as a legitimate clinical entity,
One of the reasons that people do not believe it is real is because are no single or specific test that can fully diagnosis such as a blood test that identifies Fibromyalgia. In many cases patients labs will seem completely normal and the symptoms mimic so many other disease such as rheumatic arthritis or osteoporosis.
The most widely accepted set of classification criteria for research purposes was elaborated in 1990 by the Multicenter Criteria Committee of the American College of Rheumatolology. These criteria, which are known informally as “the ACR 1990”, define fibromyalgia according to the presence of the following criteria:
- History of widespread pain lasting more than three months that affects both sides of the body, above and below the waist.
- Tender points—there are 18 designated possible tender points that include the back of the head, upper chest, top of the knees, lower back region but not limited just to these pressure points. The patient must feel pain at 11 or more of these points for fibromyalgia to be considered.
2. Does Everyone with Fibromyalgia have the same Symptoms?
Answer: No they do not. In fact it probably could be said with much certainly that no two patients have the same symptoms or to the same degree!
The main symptom is widespread chronic muscle and joint pain (although for some patients it can be localized more in one area), fatigue including chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, anxiety, and heightened pain in response to tactile pressure (allodynia). Other symptoms may include tingling or burning of the skin, prolonged or chronic muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, muscle twitching, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic sleep disturbances, insomnia, chronic headaches and migraines, depression, restless leg syndrome, flu-like symptoms that include chronic low-grade fever, brain fog, myofascial pain syndrome which many times will include TMJ disorder, hypoglycemia, and more. About 20 -30% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus also have fibromyalgia.
3. Is Chronic Fatigue Disorder and Fibromyalgia the same and should they be treated the same?
Although patients with fibromyalgia can have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and vis versa they are not the same disorder. One different is fibromygalia patient are more likely to have thyroid problems or complications, while chronic fatigue patients have more problems with adrenal functions and the adrenal glands. Although it is not a cut and dry situation — there is physicians that claim it is one in the same and in some cases patients do have both disorders.
As far as treatment — Chronic Fatigue needs adrenal support medication or supplements but at the same time some of the treatments recommended may include some of the same alternative solutions or be very similar as fibromyalgia. They both definitely leave patients with low energy levels but the causes are different.
4. Is Fibromyalgia just in a person head?
This is probably the most common misconception about fibromyalgia?
The top misconception is that people think fibromyalgia isn’t a real medical problem or that it is “all in your head.” It’s sometimes thought of as a “garbage-can diagnosis” — if doctors can’t find anything else wrong with you, they say you have fibromyalgia.
According to the Mayo Clinic –There’s a lot that’s unknown about fibromyalgia, but researchers have learned so much more about it in just the past few years. In people who have fibromyalgia, the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently; they react more strongly to touch and pressure, with a heightened sensitivity to pain. It is a real physiological and neurochemicals problem.
In our society, people tend to think that there is a cure or a fix for every medical problem. You go to the doctor, expecting he or she will fix whatever’s wrong with you with medication or surgery. It’s frustrating to people with fibromyalgia because the traditional treatment approach isn’t effective. And it’s also frustrating to health care providers because they want to help people. But there’s no easy fix.
It takes lifestyle changes and small steps toward achieving wellness. It’s a process!
I hope from the bottom of my heart that this information has shown some light on any misconception that Fibromyalgia exists. I will continue to discuss this disorder and hopefully give you some helpful information to help with the many symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia for you, a loved one, or possibly a friend. Please remember that you are not alone!
Other Related Articles: “10 Alternative & Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia!”
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Quote of the Day: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! ~ Confucius