Fibromyalgia: its causes and symptoms
Fibromyalgia is chronic, multidisciplinary disease that is difficult to detect early on and is highly debilitating. The diagnosis of the disease is not easy, as there is no formal examination or assessment. So let’s see what we do know about this stealthy affliction.
Fibromyalgia may not be widely known, but it does exist
Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is predominately suffered by women (the ratio of female to male sufferers is around 9:1). It usually affects women who are between the ages of 40 and 60 and suffer from intense emotional or physical stress. The disease is also known to appear after contracting the Epstein Barr virus. Although the condition was recognized in 1992, it is still not always officially considered a disease that merits government benefits or care across the world.
So what are the symptoms?
There are typically four types of symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Pain in the muscles and bones
- Stiffness in the joints
- Weakness and fatigue, even while resting
- Cognitive symptoms, memory loss, confusion, and lack of concentration
Symptoms can vary from person to person, and for some they are less severe. However, anxiety and stress often result from the disease mainly because its symptoms are typically not fully understood, even by trained physicians. Patients can easily end up feeling lost and misunderstood.
Fibromyalgia is in neither psychosomatic nor the consequence of depression. Rather, it is the overwhelming symptoms of the disease that end up causing depression in the sufferer.
In fact, the symptoms do seem to vary and can sometimes appear to be misleading. Since it is difficult to put all the pieces of the diagnosis puzzle together, treatment is typically delayed and prolongs suffering.
Conventional and non-conventional therapies
The protocol for fibromyalgia therapy calls for several conventional drugs:
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Muscle relaxers
- Painkillers and anti-inflammatories
There are also alternative solutions to keep symptoms under control without the use of pharmaceuticals.
Tips for learning how to live with fibromyalgia
There are a few ways to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, making them much more mild and manageable. Here are some suggestions:
- Acceptance is the first step to living with the symptoms of the disease, despite their difficulty
- Morning stretching can significantly relieve joint pain and stiffness
- Yoga can also help improve balance
- Magnesium can ease muscle cramps and tension
- Supplements such as zinc and selenium can help with cognitive issues
- Cognitive behavioral therapy can help reduce symptoms overall