Fibromyalgia is an abnormal pain processing disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, with higher prevalence amongst women between the ages of 20 to 55 years. Its exact causes are not fully understood. Research indicates that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. It is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Fibromyalgia may begin after trauma, surgery, infection, or psychological stress.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA?
- Widespread pain that lasts for at least 3 months
- Tender points throughout the body
- Heightened sensitivity to touch and pressure
- Muscle and joint stiffness
- Sleep disturbances
- Cognitive difficulties
Other associated symptoms:
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
HOW IS FIBROMYALGIA DIAGNOSED?
- Review of medical history and physical examination
- Imaging modalities to rule out other possible causes
HOW IS FIBROMYALGIA TREATED?
- Lifestyle modifications: exercise, sleep hygiene, stress management
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point injections
While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, treatment approaches focus on managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.