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Everything You Need To Know About Fibromyalgia

Jan 24, 2008
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder of the muscles and associated soft tissue, including tendons and ligaments.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Muscle pain, which could range from mild discomfort to severely debilitating and is present either throughout the body or only at certain points is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. The pain develops gradually and typically occurs in the shoulders, neck, lower back, rib cage, chest or thighs.

The presence of tender points, or tendons and muscles that feel tender when touched, is a key aspect of fibromyalgia. Tender points are usually located in the muscle or soft tissue of the neck, shoulder, elbow, knee, back, shoulder and hip. For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, the patient should have uncommon tenderness in a minimum of eleven of the eighteen designated tender points.

Other symptoms related with fibromyalgia include sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue.

Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia

Statistics reveal that 80% of the 3-6 million Americans who have fibromyalgia, are women. The major risk factor for this condition is being a woman between the age ranges of 20-50. Other risk factors include genetics and having had any rheumatic disease including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren's Syndrome. Although symptoms are more noticeable between the ages of 20 -40, children and older adults also sometimes develop this condition.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

Though several theories abound about the causes of fibromyalgia, nothing has been proven yet. Some of the possible triggers include inadequate sleep, viral or bacterial infection, physical or emotional trauma suffering any injury. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be brought about by the abnormal production of pain-related chemicals in the nervous system

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Since no specific diagnosis exists for this condition and there is also no cure, fibromyalgia treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and alleviating the pain using several different methods.

Medications - Tricyclic antidepressants, medications that are typically used to treat depression are also found to be the most effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The doses used are a fraction as those used in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Local Injections -Pain in the soft tissues and muscles can be relieved with local injections of cortisone and/or analgesics into the trigger point. These injections also help in breaking the cycle of pain and muscle spasm.

Alternate Treatments - Electro-acupuncture and biofeedback have been employed for symptom reliance with mixed success. Some tender points have also been effectively treated with standard acupuncture
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