The Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, approximately 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or FM. It is a complex disorder that causes widespread chronic pain and tenderness to touch, sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. It is difficult to diagnose since there is no test available to confirm that you have it. Instead, it is necessary to evaluate your current symptoms and exclude other diseases and disorders that have similar symptoms. Further complicating diagnosis is the fact that other conditions may coexist with fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The most common sign is chronic, long-lasting pain with intensity that may vary from day to day. Those with FM describe the pain as deep muscular aching, or shooting, throbbing, stabbing, or pounding pain that is at time unbearable. There are usually specific places, often around joints, that are tender and hurt when pressure is applied. Other signs include:
Fatigue — Persistently being tired, regardless of length of sleep time.
Problems Sleeping — Sleep may be interrupted by pain, and many of those with FM also have other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
“Fibro Fog” — An impaired ability to focus or concentrate is often present.
Depression and Anxiety — Adults with FM suffer from depression and anxiety three times more often than adults who do not have the disorder.
Headaches — Migraine and tension headaches associated with FM can be so severe that they interfere with everyday tasks.
Pain in the Jaw or Face — FM has been shown to be associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Digestive Issues — There may be abdominal pain, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with FM.
The exact causes of FM are unknown, but there are a variety of factors that indicate risk.
- Age — Most are diagnosed in middle age, and the older you are, the more likely the diagnosis.
- Sex — Women are diagnosed twice as often as men for FM.
- Stress — Too much stress will often make related problems and symptoms worse.
- Traumatic or repetitive injuries — Physical or emotional trauma can trigger or aggravate the symptoms of FM.
- Family History — If a relative has FM, your risk is higher.
- Rheumatic Conditions — Since FM often co-exists with arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis, if you have these conditions you may be at higher risk for FM.
- Obesity — A Mayo Clinic studied showed that obese people are at greater risk for FM and are more likely to suffer severe symptoms.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are effective ways to treat the symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life. If you are in Green Bay, Wisconsin, or the surrounding area, contact us for a consultation or appointment to discuss how the complementary health approach of the KadileAtric Power Principle® can help put you on the path to a better life.