The word “pain” is one you’ll hear a lot in the medical community for obvious reasons, but its meaning can fluctuate dramatically depending on the context. For sufferers of fibromyalgia, pain is a state of being—one that can be managed with fibromyalgia treatment, though there is no cure.
Fibromyalgia is an incredibly common disorder, with upward of 3 million cases per year. It doesn’t discriminate much with age. You can be diagnosed as young as nineteen, and there are cases where it has appeared in children. Women are more likely to receive a diagnosis, but it can and does affect men as well.
What is it?
Fibromyalgia is widespread musculoskeletal pain. The most common symptoms being muscle pain and tenderness. Other symptoms include fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. While we don’t know what causes this disorder, it is speculated that the brain’s interpretation of pain signals the amplified pain sensation sufferers experience.
But as we said, “pain” is a term that can mean a number of things in the medical community.
What makes fibromyalgia pain stand out?
It’s constant—diagnoses typically follow a patient reporting a dull sense of pain that is both widespread (below and above the naval and on both sides of the body) and chronic, having lasted at least three months. This is unlike muscular pain that fades with time and rest and it isn’t localized to a single spot on the body, rather felt in multiple places.
Fibromyalgia fatigue is likewise different than normal fatigue. This sort of fatigue is typically caused by the presence of pain, preventing the sufferer from falling and staying asleep. They might also awaken tired, no matter how much sleep they had the previous night.
Unfortunately, the causes of fibromyalgia have yet to be determined, but doctors have noticed a pattern in some patients. For instance, if you have a family member with fibromyalgia, you’re more likely to develop the condition yourself through genetic mutation. Sometimes it appears to be triggered by infections, physical or emotional trauma. A car accident might lead to fibromyalgia, or even instances of extreme psychological stress.
As we said, fibromyalgia isn’t curable, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. These include medication and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and reduced stress. If you believe you may have fibromyalgia, call Advanced Family Medicine today to set up your appointment. We’ll help you find the treatment plan that makes the most sense for you.