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Fibromyalgia: what it is, how to recognize it and what are the treatments


fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disabling disease still little known. Let's find out everything there is to know about it.

Fibromyalgia , also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is a disease characterized by widespread skeletal muscle pain associated with a profound sense of fatigue.
Often difficult to diagnose, it is estimated that it is usually diagnosed seven years late . Which leads to a unique suffering for those who suffer from it. Above all due to the lack of recognition and the many medical visits that are needed to obtain a diagnosis.

Today, this syndrome is becoming more and more known, attracting more and more attention from specialists. And, even if there is no definitive cure, there are several therapies that can be implemented to relieve the symptoms. To achieve all this, however, it is necessary to learn to recognize it from the first symptoms and understand who to contact to obtain a certain diagnosis.

Fibromyalgia: what it is and how it presents itself

The term fibromyalgia indicates the presence of pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. This pathology is often called a syndrome as there are both signs and symptoms of its presence.
Nonetheless, since it is a pathology that cannot be detected by common tests and with symptoms often attributable to other pathologies, recognizing it is really difficult.

fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia

Wanting to briefly summarize this pathology, fibromyalgia is a form of extra-articular rheumatism that affects soft tissues. Unlike arthritis, however, it does not deform the muscles but brings with it various symptoms, often difficult to explain and understand unless you suffer from it.

More common in women (but also found in men), fibromyalgia mostly occurs between the ages of 20 and 50, primarily with widespread pain in some areas of the body and with a profound sense of tiredness . The symptoms generally begin to get worse and worse until they lead to pain that is often difficult to bear. Although sufferers may appear healthy and healthy, the pain and tiredness caused by enduring it are highly exhausting and capable of debilitating the person with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms

As already mentioned, fibromyalgia is a disease primarily linked to pain. Those who suffer from it can therefore experience even acute pain in the cervical spine , shoulders and other areas of the body. These pains are chronic and can occur at different times of the day.

Added to these are also muscle stiffness (which often makes it difficult to sleep), sleep disturbances and a constant sense of fatigue.
More specifically, the most common symptoms are:

– Widespread muscle pain
– Sleep disorders
Irritable bowel
– Intimate burning
– Pelvic floor problems
– Chronic fatigue
– Muscle stiffness
Migraine
– Pins and needles
– Difficulty concentrating
– Night cramps
– Confusional state
– Cold intolerance
– Sensitivity of the skin
– Intolerance to light stimuli
Interstitial cystitis
– Dry eyes
– Visual disturbances
– Jaw problems
– Anxiety
Depression
– Morning stiffness
– Altered body temperature
– Alterations of the menstrual cycle
– Fibro fog (alteration of cognitive processes)

This last symptom deserves special attention. It is in fact a problem on a cognitive level that presents itself as a sort of mental fog. Those who suffer from it therefore find it very difficult to concentrate or to carry out actions that they usually carry out even without thinking about them. Situation that can be tiring, especially when it occurs at work or at times when you find yourself having to act promptly.

In general, the constant presence of the symptoms listed above leads to a quality of life that is often much lower than one would like. Fibromyalgia sufferers therefore find themselves having to slow down and take more time to perform certain tasks. Situation that involves high levels of stress to which pain and chronic fatigue are added.

What are the causes of fibromyalgia

Since it is a disease that is still little known, there are no real causes that can lead back to its appearance.
Some studies have highlighted possible neurotransmitter alterations while ongoing research has focused attention on a possible correlation between the altered microbiome and fibromyalgia syndrome. The truth is that at the moment it is not yet known what leads to the development of this pathology.

What is certain, however, is that the symptoms can worsen in the event of stress or lack of sleep and that fibromyalgia syndrome often occurs following severe trauma or diseases such as shingles or Covid, probably because it is already latent .

Finally, a sort of correlation was found between fibromyalgia, vulvodynia and endometriosis. Often, in fact, those who suffer from one of these diseases seem to have a greater chance of having the others as well. Also in this case there is still nothing scientific except the simple cases that have highlighted this situation.

fibromyalgia syndrome
fibromyalgia syndrome

How to get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia

In the presence of symptoms, the wisest choice in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis is to consult a rheumatologist who is an expert in this pathology. Although there are no laboratory tests that can identify it, over the years some tests have been developed that can highlight its presence.

It has in fact emerged that fibromyalgia sufferers suffer from a particular sensitivity in some points, also known as tender points . These, once pressed in the correct way by the rheumatologist, cause acute pain which allows the presence of the disease to be identified (together with the other symptoms). In order to be recognised, it is important that pain is felt in various points considered typical of fibromyalgia syndrome, that these pains have persisted for more than three months and that other pathologies capable of triggering them are excluded.

Once fibromyalgia has been found, various routine tests will be performed to look for other possible pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis , multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, some autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems and cervical osteoarthritis. The search for these diseases helps to understand if fibromyalgia is primary and therefore developed alone or secondary and therefore as a consequence of other problems that will have to be treated in order to alleviate it. Only by acting in this way, the doctor will be able to establish a correct plan of action.

Therapies and cures for fibromyalgia

To date, unfortunately, there is no real cure for fibromyalgia. This means that the disease always remains present. That said, work can be done to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Once the diagnosis has been obtained, in fact, the rheumatologist can prescribe some drugs aimed at relaxing the muscles and giving them greater flexibility. Among these are painkillers and anti-inflammatories to which are added muscle relaxants and drugs capable of acting on neuropathic pain.

Moderate physical activity should be added to drug therapy to improve flexibility. From yoga to stretching, working on your muscles is definitely a good way to get relief that over time can relieve painful symptoms or help manage them.
In some cases it may be useful to resort to ultrasound treatments to relieve painful symptoms. However, there are conflicting opinions on the subject as the effects vary from person to person.

In summary, therefore, fibromyalgia is not a disease to be underestimated and should always be investigated from the onset of the first symptoms. In order not to run the risk of going around in circles, the advice is to always consult a doctor (rheumatologist) who is an expert on the subject and is able to recognize the pathology from the first symptoms. By doing this you will avoid years of lack of care and pain that can really make life difficult.


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