What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a condition that causes severe pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia experience increased pain sensitivity, fatigue and muscle stiffness. Other symptoms include headaches, difficulty sleeping, restless legs and irritable bowel syndrome. Some people also describe it as having swollen hands or feet. There are many unanswered questions about what causes fibromyalgia. It’s suggested that the condition can be triggered by emotional stress such as from injury or infection; having an operation, giving birth, the death of a loved one, or the breakdown of a relationship. It’s unclear how many people have fibromyalgia, but research suggests the condition typically affects around 7 times as many women as men. It’s more likely to develop between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can occur in people of any age – young and old alike. Estimates suggest that nearly 1 in 20 people are affected by fibromyalgia to some level. The symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome are believed to be the result of abnormalities in pain transmitters within the brain and spinal cord as opposed to the peripheral nervous system. Doctors who assess their patients may misdiagnose and stress that it’s ‘simply in the mind’. The nerve and neurotransmitter process however causes pain, warning of tissue injury. Fibromyalgia pain can last for a short or a long time, depending on the symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome Treatment

While fibromyalgia is considered to have ‘no cure’, there are various treatments available that can help to relieve and reduce the symptoms. This makes the fibromyalgia condition easier to manage. Some of these treatments include medications like antidepressants and painkillers. Tramadol is a strong painkiller that has been shown to have some benefit for fibromyalgia sufferers. Making healthy lifestyle changes such as following a dedicated exercise program or using relaxation techniques can all make fibromyalgia easier to cope with. Exercise can be helpful in managing and reducing pain involved with the condition. Some people believe that certain foods can aggravate fibromyalgia syndrome symptoms. Eating a well-balanced diet and nutritious meals that are high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein is highly recommended to give the body all the nutrients it needs. This ensures that your body gets the energy it needs to avoid feeling achy and tired. Fibromyalgia sufferers may also benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling to talk through any difficulties or emotional distress they may be experiencing. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to explain to people as the symptoms are invisible, despite feeling physically debilitating. Some people have difficulties explaining what they are going through. Alternative treatments and natural remedies for fibromyalgia syndrome include aromatherapy and massage as these can relax the senses. Acupuncture may reduce many types of chronic pain, making fibromyalgia symptoms easier to manage. Any kind of therapy that relaxes the sense and increases the levels of endorphins is beneficial. Endorphins act as natural painkillers in the central nervous system, making fibromyalgia symptoms easier to tolerate in the long-term. It can also increase your general sense of wellbeing.

Associated conditions

Associated conditions of fibromyalgia syndrome are generally arthritic in nature. These conditions include, osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Usually these conditions are also tested for when diagnosing fibromyalgia syndrome.