Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that increase and decrease over time and often resemble other conditions. For years, because of their complex nature and a lack of research on the condition, many doctors misdiagnosed fibromyalgia symptoms or dismissed them as being in the patient’s head.
Fibromyalgia has been around for many years. Job, as reported by the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible was imposed sufferings by God and in many parts of the book he may be describing pains that could relate to fibromyalgia. The list of famous personalities affected by the disease includes Florence Nightingale and Charles Darwin also.
Why should I be aware of this?
- Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to successful management of fibromyalgia.
- Even today, it is estimated to take an average of five years for a fibromyalgia patient to get an accurate diagnosis.
- There is no laboratory test available to diagnose fibromyalgia.
- Doctors must rely on patient histories, self-reported symptoms, a physical examination and an accurate manual tender point examination.
- To receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a patient must experience widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months and experience tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points when pressure is applied.
- Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men, but the reasons for this difference are unclear.
- Fibromyalgia could be an inherited disorder.
All about Fibromyalgia
The classical definition of fibromyalgia diagnosis as defined by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990 makes a few statements that are important. These include:
- Muscle pain duration of more than three months
- Muscle pain above and below the belt on both sides
- Eleven out of eighteen typical muscle points being painful (not just tender)
The pain occurs in areas called ‘tender points’. Common tender points are the front of the knees, the elbows, hip joints and around the neck. This pain affects the ligaments, tendons, and muscles throughout the body. Ligaments are made of tough tissues which attach to the bones in your body. Tendons help to attach muscles to your bones. Muscles allow you to stretch and flex various body parts.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The cause of this disorder is unknown. Physical or emotional trauma may play a role in development of this syndrome. Fibromyalgia patients have abnormal pain transmission responses. These symptoms can develop independent of any other disease, or result from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus.
It has been suggested that sleep disturbances, which are common in fibromyalgia patients, may actually cause the condition. Though there have been suggestions of a virus or microbe being a cause of this disorder, no such virus or microbe has yet been identified. Studies have shown a possible inherited tendency toward the disease, though evidence is very preliminary.
There are several symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia. However, patients are known to display several of these symptoms and hardly any of those affected display all these symptoms.
- Widespread Pain pain that can continue for months and even years
- Sleep disorders
- Morning stiffness
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Vision Problems
- Urinary tract infection
- Pelvic Problems
- Weight Gain
- Chronic headaches
- Common cold symptoms
- Temperomandibular Joint
- Dysfunction Syndrome
- Multiple chemical sensitivity syndromes
- Cognitive or memory impairment
- Skin complaints
- Depression Dysmenorrhea Aggravating Factors
- Muscle twitches
Who is affected
Fibromyaliga syndrome has many sufferers of all ages and backgrounds. It does seem to affect women more than men, especially during the childbearing years. Children and the elderly can also be affected
Who is at risk?
Aside from predominantly affecting women, there are several risk factors for fibromyalgia:
- Age --The condition usually occurs in people between the ages of 20-60 years, *
Family History -- Studies have shown that having a relative with fibromyalgia may put you at higher risk for developing the disorder.
- Other rheumatic diseases -- A person who has other rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia than those who do not have a rheumatic disease.
- Stress -- Although controversial, certain studies suggest that people who have had difficult or stressful past experiences may be at risk of developing fibromyalgia
What can I do?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a very frustrating illness to have.
- Show some compassion towards the patients.
- To aid early diagnosis
- Make the patient draw all the pains that they suffer from at one time or another. Drawing is easier than describing and it is often very suggestive
- Give a list of all possible symptoms and find out if they exist. I still have to meet a patient with all symptoms
90 degrees what we do not know yet?
- Widespread body pain in fibromyalgia patients is associated with specific brain metabolite abnormalities, according to research in The Journal of Pain.
- The use of antidepressant medications by patients with fibromyalgia syndrome is associated with a reduction in pain, sleep disturbances and depressed mood and improvement of health-related quality of life. 
- Patients suffering from fibromyalgia could benefit significantly from regular exercise in a heated swimming pool, a new study shows. The findings suggest a cost effective way of improving quality of life for patients with this often-debilitating disorder.
- Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) has an estimated prevalence of 0.5 percent to 5.8 percent in North America and Europe.
- More than 90 percent of sufferers are female.
- Fourteen of the eighteen points affected by fibromyalgia are postural muscles.
- Fibromyalgia Information and Relief Made Simple
- Fibromyalgia Sufferers - Massage Chairs Relieve Chronic Pain
- Famous fibromyalgia people: from Job to the Bold and Beautiful
- Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- Gender as a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia Risk Factor
- What Is Fibromyalgia?
- Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Fibromyalgia Affects Women More Often Than Men: Science Daily
- ↑ Fibromyalgia Pain Linked To Central Nervous System Dysfunction: ScienceDaily
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Use Of Antidepressants Associated With Improvement In Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia:ScienceDaily
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 A Regular Dip In The Pool Could Benefit Fibromyalgia Sufferers: ScienceDaily