Moms, If You Live With Chronic Pain Check for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia pain and its treatment

As someone who lives with Fibromyalgia everyday I can assure you it is real and the pain is sometimes unbearable. Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread body pain and muscle tenderness. We have almost all suffered from the flu at one point in time. Well imagine feeling like you have the flu around the clock, this is what fibromyalgia feels like.

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People with Fibromialgia are often very sensitive to pressure and pressure is frequently felt as pain. It is also accompanied by a variety of other bothersome symptoms. FM is often almost always associated with sleep problems, fatigue, and mood disorders such as depression.

What causes Fibromyalgia?
FM can develop gradually without any known cause. It can also develop following a traumatic event or infection. It is sometimes associated with autoimmune diseases , such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. It can also be hereditary and run in families. In people with FM, the normal pain pathway (involving nerves that sense pain and send messages to the brain that pain is present in a particular spot) is dysfunctional. See this story covered by eMaxHealth reporter Lana Bandoim discussing if Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.

How common is Fibromyalgia?
Between 2-3% of people are diagnosed with FM. It`s more common in women then men. The condition is most common in women over the age of 40 but can occur at any age, even in childhood. Incidence increase with age.

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What are the symptoms?
The major symptom of FM is chronic pain in many different areas of the body. It can also be associated with many different symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, insomnia, bladder dysfunction, constipation, diarrhea, sun sensitivity, concentration difficulties or nervousness. Depression and anxiety are commonly found in patients with FM.

How is it diagnosed?
Currently there is no blood or imaging test to diagnose FM. The diagnosis is usually made on the pattern of pain reported, the presence of certain trigger points and the presence of associated symptoms. For trigger point testing, doctors apply pressure over certain areas of the body and document any pain in that area. Bloodwork may occasionally be ordered to rule out other conditions that can have similar symptoms.

How is it treated?
The best treatment for FM is a multimodal approach (meaning , using several treatment methods to manage the symptoms). There are medications that can help manage symptoms as well as therapies such as interventional treatments including nerve block injections, counselling, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic sessions.

Apparently St. john's wort is also used as a natural Fibromyalgia treatment. Talk to your Doctor today about developing a plan that is right for you.

References
Canadian National Guidelines for Fibromyalgia
Canadian Arthritis Society

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