What is Fibromyalgia? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

When it comes to fibromyalgia, there are a lot of questions to be asked, not only from those just hearing about it on TV, but from those who have it as well. There’s still a ton we don’t know about fibromyalgia, which can make it hard to diagnose and treat. However, there are some concrete things we have learned that can help control your symptoms and treatments beyond medication that would be a worthy addition to any healthy lifestyle.

What Fibromyalgia Does and How It Affects Your Body

The exact cause or causes of Fibromyalgia are not totally known, or at least can’t be tied to one thing. What the current research shows is a general concurrence that fibromyalgia symptoms result from repeated stimulation and overstimulation of specific nerves, leading to a fundamental change in the brain and spinal cord. This change brings about an abnormal increase in the level of certain chemicals that signal pain.

It is also accepted that, generally, fibromyalgia is a type of trauma response, whether that be physical or mental trauma or whether it is triggered by one intense trauma or a number of smaller ones. That being said, infections, genetics, and physical or emotional traumas are all on the list of possible triggering events for Fibromyalgia.

What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

When it comes to fibromyalgia, one of the reasons it can be hard to diagnose and why it at one time faced skepticism from many in and outside of the medical community is because it comes with such a wide array of symptoms and because the exact cause was so hard to pin down. Nobody knows for sure what actually causes your nerves, brain, and spinal cord to react as they do in fibromyalgia patients. The disorder can seemingly appear out of nowhere. However, in recent years, there have been a number of studies linking fibromyalgia to the cytokine levels in a person.

All that being said, there are a wide variety of both physical and psychological symptoms that are accepted, including:

  • General pain and stiffness all over the body, fatigue, and headaches
  • Depression and anxiety, sleep problems and struggles with memory or concentration
  • More specific pain areas include tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, pain in the face or jaw, and digestive problems, including pain, bloating, IBS, constipation, etc.

How to Treat and Care for Fibromyalgia

In treating fibromyalgia, as with diagnosing it, there’s quite a bit of generality. Since there is no known cure, treatments mostly address the symptoms of fibromyalgia rather than the root cause. However, constant care and regimens that work for you can help bring you to a healthier place physically and mentally and reduce your symptoms. Here are a few examples of what might be included:

  • Medications – Pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs are all medications that may be prescribed to treat the various symptoms of fibromyalgia. 
  • Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is a popular route for those staying on top of their fibromyalgia. It helps maintain strength, flexibility, and stamina. It’s also acknowledged that regular movement, while painful at first, helps mitigate future symptoms.
  • Counseling – Receiving mental health counseling may be another helpful route for those with fibromyalgia. Not only can it help deal with anxiety and depression caused by the disorder, but it could help you resolve some of your past traumas and current stress — two factors that help lead to fibromyalgia in the first place.

Speak With a Doctor to Find Out More About Fibromyalgia

With so many factors involved in our health, we hope this has helped you learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for fibromyalgia. If you’re convinced or still debating symptoms of your own, it’s best to talk to a doctor to find out if you may have fibromyalgia. The sooner you know for sure, the sooner you can be on the road to a healthier, more pain free life.

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