This condition can cause a host of symptoms, including pain and fatigue. The pain can be felt all over your body, particularly in the spots we doctors refer to as fibromyalgia pressure points. There are 18 tender points we use to help with a diagnosis of this condition. We will apply pressure on these points to see if it causes pain for the patients.
People with this issue can feel like their muscles are sore a lot. Think about a time you overdid it with your exercise routine and felt stiff and painful muscles the next day. That’s what some sufferers say it feels like.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from day to day. It can cause twitchy muscles or deep stabbing pain. Sometimes the joints in the hips, back, neck, or shoulders are stiff or achy. That can make exercise and sleep uncomfortable. The lack of sleep is one reason for the overwhelming sense of flu-like fatigue many have with this condition. It can be hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome?
Besides fatigue and pain, other ones include:
- Mood issues, such as anxiety disorder.
- Stiffness upon waking up in the morning.
- Issues with urinating.
- Tingling and swelling in hands and feet.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Restless Leg Syndrome.
- Painful menstrual issues for women.
The symptoms can come and go, so just because you feel bad one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll feel that way the next.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed and treated ?
Diagnosis can be tricky because the symptoms can be vague. Being tired and feeling pain can point to a number of conditions and diseases. We run tests and conduct exams for diagnosing fibromyalgia. If it’s determined you do have it, there are treatments you can pursue, but there is no cure for fibromyalgia at this time. The treatment goal is to cut back on the fatigue and reduce pain so you can live as normally as possible.
Here are some of the options you may have to help you with this battle:
- Pain medication: This can help you function on the bad pain days you may have.
- Anti-depressants: Whether you struggled with anxiety before your diagnosis or knowing you have this condition has led to a mood disorder or panic problem, anti-depressants may help you. If you hate the idea of relying on medication, you may try to do without them or take them for a short term and then reevaluate whether you still need them at some point.
- Physical therapy: This can have some benefit for people struggling with pain.
- Exercise: Although you might not feel you have the energy or physical endurance for this, you should try to get some exercise daily. Even a little may help immensely. Start off slow with low-impact exercises like walking and then work your way up to longer or harder sessions.
- Stress reduction: Stress can make almost every condition worse, so your goal should be to reduce it whenever possible.
- Home remedies: Don’t discount simple strategies you can do at home to manage your symptoms. Things like yoga and meditation for relaxation, applying moist heat to your achy spots, and using a weighted blanket to help you get to sleep faster may make you feel better.
How serious is Fibromyalgia ?
Getting a serious diagnosis is always tough. It can feel like the end of the world. But fortunately, there are many things you can do to help manage fibromyalgia and its impact on your life.
By educating yourself by reading this article, you’ve already taken an important step. Keep on learning all you can about your condition and realize that scientists are continuing to study this issue and will keep finding better ways to help those who suffer from it.
While your family and friends will be eager to give you the support and help you need, you may find that they don’t understand what life is like for you. If you feel alone or want additional support, consider joining an online or in-person support group. You may benefit from someone who has firsthand experience with fibromyalgia.