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What Is Fibromyalgia And How Could It Affect You?

May 22, 2008
You would probably be forgiven for not knowing what Fibromyalgia is. Although studied and treated for several centuries, Fibromyalgia was not recognised as an illness until 1987. The term is derived from Latin and Greek words that literally translate as pain of the muscles. The condition is chronic and causes persistent tiredness and pain in the ligaments and muscles.

Research has indicated that although the illness affects only a small minority of the general population, the majority of sufferers seem to be women. This article will discuss the outward symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and the subsequent available treatments. This is to provide information only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you feel that you or someone else is displaying symptoms of Fibromyalgia you should consult a qualified doctor.

Symptoms: It is extremely difficult to detect Fibromyalgia because the symptoms can easily be mistaken for another condition. Typically diagnosis comes as a result of the elimination of other illness, particular more life threatening ones. Many sufferers display two main symptoms of fatigue and pain.

These symptoms can change from day to day and the pain can move to different parts of the body and increase and decrease in severity regularly. People with Fibromyalgia find that their condition can prevent them from carrying out normal activities such as taking a bath or walking the dog.

These are general symptoms, but sufferers can also develop chronic pain in a particular localized area of the body. Often this may be in the lower back, the hips or the neck. Fibromyalgia may also make the skin so sensitive that clothes touching the it can cause excessive pain.

Treatments: At present that is no cure for Fibromyalgia. The condition is not life threatening and researchers claim that it does not reduce life expectancy. Following diagnosis, the patient will be advised that they need to learn to live with the pain and tiredness by following recommended treatments.

Patients are encouraged to develop a regular exercise program to help alleviate the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia. Dependent on the severity of the pain, it is recommended that a programme of light jogging, walking and swimming be adhered to on a frequent basis. Many sufferers report that holistic treatments, acupuncture and yoga can also be beneficial in helping them to cope with the day to day difficulties.

The use of drugs to alleviate the pain caused by Fibromyalgia is limited to prescription pain killers such as tramadol and antidepressants to help with the associated mental anxiety disorders and depression. In cases of severe pain, doctors have recommended the use of local anaesthetic and tranquillizers to provide temporary relief from the symptoms.

There has been some research that suggests that the causes of Fibromyalgia may be caused by a low level of serotonin in the body. This hypothesis is one point of view and is still a cause of contention within the medical community. Nonetheless some practitioners have recommended the use of drugs know as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that help to retain levels of serotonin in the body for longer. Some drug companies claim that patients have reported some mild relief after using this treatment.

Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia can result in dramatic changes to a person's life. In most cases the pain and discomfort caused by the condition prevent the sufferer from retaining a full time job. Although the pain is debilitating, the condition is not life threatening. There is help and advice available from plenty of support groups run by other sufferers.
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