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What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, is a mysteriously debilitating syndrome. It is not physically damaging to the body in any way, but is characterized by the constant presence of widespread pain so severe that it is often incapacitating. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to; chronic muscle pain, aching, stiffness, disturbed sleep, depression, and fatigue. It is estimated that three to six million people are afflicted in the United States alone.
The condition mainly affects women aged 25 to 50 years and bears a striking resemblance to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Unfortunately, no one laboratory test or X-ray can diagnose fibromyalgia, however, research has revealed that upon a physical examination: the presence of 18 specific points in muscles, tendons or bones are tender and painful to the touch. These tender points can be used to distinguish fibromyalgia from other painful joint and muscle conditions. The identifying criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia is pain or tenderness experienced in at least 11 of the 18 points. These tender points can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating. Roughly 75% of CFS-diagnosed patients will meet the FMS criteria.As a person who suffers from fms, you may have some degree of constant pain but the severity may vary. You may have a deep ache or a burning pain, muscle tightening or spasms. Most people with fibromyalgia feel tired or out of energy. They are sensative to odors, bright lights, loud noises and even medicines. Headaches and jaw pain are also common.
What FMS IS!
- In the brain
- A neurosomatic disorder
- A dysfunctional spectrum syndrome
- A pain modulation disorder
- A chronic (often) debilitating condition of unknown etiology
- Most probably caused by different factors
What FMS is NOT!!
- A (non inflammatory) rheumatic disease
- A Musculoskeletal disorder
- A psychiatric disorder
- A psychosomatic disorder
- A form of depression
- An accident neurosis
- A malingering behavior
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown. Many different factors, alone or in combination may trigger this disorder. In recent years, studies have shown that in FMS, the muscle is especially vulnerable to decreased circulation and minor injury. Research has also looked at the role of certain hormones or body chemicals that may alter pain, sleep, and mood.
What Can be done?
One of the most effecitve treatments is low-impact aerobic exercises. (Swimming, water exercise, stationary bicycling) You will probably want to start out at a very low level of exercise (even five minutes a day every other day is helpful) continue until you can increase the time to 20 or 30 minutes at least four times a week. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can cause poor sleep quality