Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that is often mistaken as an arthritic condition due to its symptoms. However, fibromyalgia is not a type of arthritis. It is a syndrome, which means that it is a collection of symptoms that occur together. In general, it is characterized by unexplained pain in the muscles and joints.
What are the causes of fibromyalgia
The true cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown. But over the years, several theories about the causes of fibromyalgia have been identified. One theory speculates that it is caused by low levels of serotonin. When serotonin levels are depleted, the pain threshold of a person reduces increasing his sensitivity to pain. Another theory links fibromyalgia to trauma to the brain and/or spinal cord. However, most researchers believe that the syndrome results not from a single event but from a combination of many physical and emotional stressors.
How to tell if a person has fibromyalgia
According to standards published by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990, a person has fibromyalgia if they have widespread pain and tenderness in at least 11 of the known 18 “trigger points.” These include (but are not limited to): the back of the head, top part of the shoulders, upper chest, hips, knees and outer elbows.
A mild yet consistent ache through the entire body is also common among people with fibromyalgia. They may also suffer any of the following symptoms: fatigue, sleeping disorders, headaches, and extreme feelings of sadness or anxiousness. To understand fibromyalgia better, here are eight important facts that you should know about it:
1. Fibromyalgia can be a primary or secondary condition.
Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary condition characterized by its primary symptoms such as muscular pain, or it can occur as a secondary condition to other rheumatic diseases. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus or ankylosing spondylitis have an increased risk of also developing fibromyalgia. When it occurs as a secondary condition, sufferers may have overlapping symptoms (symptoms which are common to two conditions) or they may have distinct symptoms for two conditions.
2. Almost all of fibromyalgia sufferers experience severe fatigue or sleep deprivation.
99% percent of people with fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping and maintaining adequate energy levels throughout the day. As a result, sufferers also develop problems that are caused by the lack of sleep. They may also have cognitive problems, memory lapses and hormonal imbalance.
3. Fibromyalgia has additional symptoms which seem unrelated to it, but are actually included in the list of its symptoms.
Other than the mentioned symptoms of fibromyalgia, sufferers may also experience: irritable bladder or bowel, temporomandibular joint disorder, noise sensitivity, temperature sensitivity, restless leg syndrome and memory problems.
4. Psychological issues are associated with fibromyalgia.
Over an 11-year period, the American College of Rheumatology conducted a study involving 307 sufferers of fibromyalgia. This is what they discovered from their results: one-third of the patients had severe physical symptoms of fibromyalgia and equally severe psychological issues. One-third had moderate physical symptoms and only mild psychological issues. Another one-third had mild physical symptoms and moderate psychological issues.
5. There is so much variability in fibromyalgia.
Not all sufferers experience the same symptoms. There is a possibility that later in the future, sub-types of fibromyalgia may be discovered. But as long as the cause of fibromyalgia remains undetermined, the variability of its symptoms will continue to remain a mystery.
6. There are no diagnostic tests that can determine if a person has fibromyalgia.
Determination of fibromyalgia is done based on symptoms which are presented by a person during a physical examination. Aside from that, no blood test, x-ray or other diagnostic test can identify the syndrome.
7. Fibromyalgia affects women more than men.
Statistics reveal that women are more prone to developing fibromyalgia than men. They also point out that between 2 and 4 percent of the United States’ total population suffer from the syndrome. Although the numbers project the prevalence of fibromyalgia, they do not show how many people live well with it and have successfully managed the syndrome to the degree of maintaining a good quality of living.
8. Medication and non-medication methods are used to manage fibromyalgia.
Physicians prescribe medications for pain, sleep deprivation and severe feelings of unhappiness and anxiousness. The medicine that physicians give are based on the symptoms presented by the sufferer. However, there are alternative treatments that can also help.
Hypnosis is a well-established method that supports sufferers in terms of pain relief and stress management. If you are searching for a safe and non-invasive way to manage symptoms of fibromyalgia, hypnosis is exactly what you are looking for. To know more about how hypnosis can help, schedule a free consultation with me. Call 262-264-0214 today!