Fibromyalgia (Fibro) can best be described as chronic pain (likely) caused by disrupted nerve signaling. It is a highly complex disorder with a variety of symptoms that come and go, making it difficult to identify, diagnose and treat. The disease also includes specific pain points used in making a clear diagnosis.
Experts predict that approximately 10 million Americans have Fibro, most of them women.
Many of the symptoms of Fibro are similar to other medical conditions and actually, it often co-exists with other conditions. Here are the most commons indicators of Fibromyalgia:
- Pain: By far, the most concerning and primary symptom is the chronic, widespread and debilitating pain that every patient experiences. This pain can vary in intensity, location and presentation, ranging from stabbing and shooting to burning, throbbing and aching. In addition, numbness and tingling can also add to the discomfort.
- Fatigue: The second most serious symptom is severe fatigue. This is more than just being tired from a tough day; this is exhaustion that affects a person’s ability to spend time with their family, perform at work or enjoy the activities in which they want to participate.
- Insomnia and lack of restful sleep (waking exhausted)
- Morning stiffness
- Muscle knots, cramping, weakness
- Brain fog
- Other: A person with fibromyalgia may also experience other medical conditions such as irritable bowel, bladder spasms, headaches/migraines, restless legs, rashes, itchy or burning skin, TMJ, lupus, arthritis, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud's Syndrome, and sensitivity to touch, light, and sound.
In addition to these physical symptoms, a physician will also look at 18 specific tender points. Tender areas around regions in the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow can help confirm a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Currently, there are only three drugs approved for treating fibromyalgia; much needs to be done in the area of research. There is no cure for fibromyalgia and today treatment is focused on just the management of the chronic pain; because of the severity and on-going nature of the pain, many people with fibromyalgia become withdrawn from family and friends, and even become depressed.
If you or someone you know is looking for answers to their fibromyalgia questions, speaking to our physician or participating in a clinical study may be the first step. To learn more, call us at 770-817-9200.