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Fibromyalgia – Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis

Fibromyalgia is a set of symptoms causing general fatigue and muscle pain. Individuals afflicted with the disease experience chronic pain. The areas, where acute pain is experienced, are called tender points if pressure is applied. Shoulders, elbows, back of the head, hip joints and knees are the most common tender points.

The disease is most common in the age group of 35-60 years. Women, compared to men, are more prone to fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Acute ache or a burning sensation getting worse with physical exertion, stress, climate changes or other factors
  • Muscle spasm or stiffness
  • Pain travelling around one’s body
  • Increased sensitivity to ache
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in arms, hands or legs
  • Feeling extremely tired even after enough sleep
  • Trouble speaking

People suffering from fibromyalgia also have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel movement
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Increased sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, colors, and even medicines
  • Jaw pain, migraines or headaches
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with balance
  • Dementia or lack of concentration (also called ‘fibro fog’)
  • Painful menstrual cycle in women

Causes of Fibromyalgia

Researchers are still in dark about the causes of fibromyalgia. The disease might be hereditary. According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), fibromyalgia is weakly linked to other life events. These life events are as follows:

  • Traumatic or stressful incidents (for example, car accidents)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Recurrent injuries
  • Other diseases
  • Obesity

Are Damages Caused By Fibromyalgia Permanent?

Though symptoms of fibromyalgia can cause excruciating pain or discomfort, organs and muscles suffer no damage. The disease is not life-threatening but chronic. Though the currently available treatment for fibromyalgia offers no cure, it can certainly make you feel better over time.

Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

The doctor will enquire about medical history of your family. If any of your immediate family members has ever been diagnosed with the disease or suffered similar symptoms, make sure to tell your doctor. The medical professional is likely to ask you about vitamins, supplements or medicines you are taking.

The expert will also ask about the kind of symptoms you have and how long you have been experiencing the problems. Don’t hide anything from the doctor so that he/she can make the correct diagnosis.

Feeling fatigue or lack of sleep is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. If you experience such problem, the doctor may ask if you have anxiety or depression since the onset of the problem.

The professional will do a thorough physical exam, including applying pressure to the areas where you feel chronic acute pain. He will ask you to undergo blood tests to ensure that you don’t have other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, it often takes time for the doctor to diagnose fibromyalgia. There are several reasons for such delay. Fatigue and pain are the main symptoms of this disease. But these are common symptoms of many health-related disorders and that makes it difficult for the doctor to make quick diagnosis.

If fibromyalgia results from some stressful events such as accidents and leaves you disabled, you should talk to a learned person to know about fibromyalgia disability benefits in details.

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