Are you constantly feeling sleepy after a full night of sleep? Do you wake up feeling stiff each morning? These issues can interrupt your life. The pain in your back, neck, shoulders and chest may be due to fibromyalgia instead of just soreness. Learning about fibromyalgia may help you find a solution to your pain.
Those who have fibromyalgia experience pain throughout their body. Most patients describe the pain as an intense, radiating ache. The pain often increases when patients are active or stressed. It can even get worse during chilly or rainy weather. Most people report that their pain worsens as the day goes on. Since the pain is usually most severe at night, many people with fibromyalgia have a difficult time sleeping.
Fibromyalgia pain is widespread, which means that it occurs in all four quadrants of the body. Those who have fibromyalgia commonly experience tenderness in their back, neck, hips, feet, shoulders and knees. The body is sensitive to hard pressure, and the pain lasts for at least three consecutive months.
The body has 18 different tender spots that a doctor will use to help determine if someone has fibromyalgia. This diagnostic process only accounts for pain, so doctors must also take fatigue and cognitive issues into account. Most people with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic fatigue. It is also common for fibromyalgia sufferers to have sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. During the diagnostic process, most doctors start by trying to rule out other causes of the pain and fatigue.
Some fibromyalgia patients have cognitive issues. For example, some patients struggle to concentrate or recall information. Besides the cognitive issues, these patients may also experience dizziness, numbness, headaches and an increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Fibromyalgia can even cause irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems.
Scientists have yet to determine why fibromyalgia occurs. According to preliminary research, a person’s genetic background may play a role in the disorder. Some studies have also found a link between fibromyalgia and bacterial infections. Another report found that fibromyalgia sufferers have unusual levels of brain chemicals. For example, their serotonin and tryptophan levels were different. The study even found that fibromyalgia sufferers have an abnormal amount of substance P, which is the protein that helps transmit pain signals to the brain.
Those who have a minor case of fibromyalgia can make their symptoms disappear by making simple lifestyle changes. For example, relaxation and daily exercise can help make the symptoms disappear. Studies have found that aerobic workouts help relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia. Some other options that can help include nutritional changes, antidepressants, pain medication, acupuncture and counseling.
Treatment usually requires a team approach. Besides the doctor, the team may also include a physical therapist. Many patients seek treatment by attending a pain or rheumatology clinic. Fibromyalgia can affect a person’s quality of life, which makes the treatment process essential. With the right resources, patients can fight the pain and fatigue they feel on a daily basis.
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