Fibromyalgia: causes, symptoms and treatment

Suppose you've recently heard the term Fibromyalgia or received it as a diagnosis for a range of chronic symptoms you're experiencing. In that case, you probably have many questions about this condition, its causes, its symptoms, and the best treatment methods. We've gathered information from top medical sources to answer all your queries.

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Omooma
Published on:Oct 23rd 2023 |Updated on:May 10th 2024
ما هو علاج الفيبروميالجيا

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, or "muscular fibrous pain," is a chronic disorder characterized by pain in various body parts, especially in the muscles and tissues surrounding the joints. It is often accompanied by general fatigue, concentration problems, and "brain fog."

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be challenging because its symptoms are similar to other conditions. As a result, many cases remain undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. At one point, many doctors even denied the existence of this condition altogether. It's worth noting that most of those who have fibromyalgia are women.

Symptoms

  • Bone pain.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Joint pain.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Sleep disorders include difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or sleeping for extended periods without feeling rested.
  • Brain fog.
  • Memory impairment.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Memory weakness.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

Doctors typically diagnose patients with fibromyalgia based on persistent pain in most of these locations:

  • The back of the head.
  • The tops of the shoulders.
  • Shoulder blades.
  • Pelvis.
  • Knees.
  • Elbows.
  • Chest.
  • Collarbone.
  • Lower back.
  • Upper thigh.

What causes Fibromyalgia?

Scientists still don't know the exact cause of this condition, but several factors may influence the likelihood of developing fibromyalgia. Some of the most significant include:

Genetics

There might be a genetic predisposition in people who have first-degree relatives suffering from the same condition. Some researchers suggest that a genetic mutation could be responsible for transmitting the gene leading to the state, but this is still under investigation.

Inflammation

Contracting infections like the flu, pneumonia, or various intestinal inflammations could increase the chances of developing this condition or intensify the symptoms in those already affected.

Chronic Stress

Our emotional and psychological state directly influences our physical well-being. Studies have shown that prolonged and recurrent stress or anxiety can alter hormone levels in the body, leading to fibromyalgia.

Trauma

Experiencing physical trauma, such as an accident, severe illness, or a significant psychological shock, can directly impact the development of fibromyalgia.

Autoimmune Diseases

Individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases like rheumatism or lupus are more susceptible to this chronic syndrome.

Diagnosis

One of the significant challenges for those affected by this condition is the difficulty of diagnosis. There are no definitive X-rays or lab tests that can diagnose this disease. Typically, a doctor comes to this conclusion after monitoring the patient for several months. If the symptoms and pain persist continuously for over three months and no other causes are identified, the diagnosis is fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Unfortunately, as of now, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Treatments mainly focus on symptom relief, pain management, self-care, and lifestyle changes.

Medications

Doctors often prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs depending on the severity of the pain and the patient's condition. Not taking these medications without a prescription is essential to ensure appropriate dosage and duration based on the specialist's recommendations.

Alternative Treatments

Fibromyalgia patients often turn to various alternative treatments, such as:

  • Various forms of massage have been found to alleviate symptoms significantly.
  • Physical and occupational therapies conducted by specialists.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Yoga and meditation.
  • Mild-intensity exercises like walking and swimming.
  • Taking dietary supplements.

Diet

Dietary changes have shown positive effects in alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic pain. Some of these changes include:

  • Consuming more vegetables and fruits.
  • Eating leafy greens.
  • Reducing red meat intake.
  • Eliminating sugar.
  • Limiting the consumption of wheat products.
  • Reducing cow milk derivatives and replacing them with goat, sheep, or camel milk products.
  • Incorporating anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger.
  • Drinking enough water.
  • Reducing caffeine intake.

Self-care

As previously mentioned, the psychological state directly impacts this chronic physical pain. Hence, self-care and improving mental well-being are crucial in treatment and enhancing the quality of life. Practicing meditation, deep breathing, journaling, engaging in hobbies, striving to reduce stress and tension as much as possible, and building positive personal relationships with supportive and loving friends is recommended.

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Omooma is the first Online platform offering classes in Arabic dedicated to mothers and mothers-to-be. In addition to content covering many relevant topics, women’s health, pregnancy, fertility, child’s health, and parenting. Omooma’s articles are written by medical writers, based on extensive research, and reviewed by a panel of experts who are part of the largest team of experts available in the region in all fields related to the journey of motherhood.

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