Fibromyalgia

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Overview

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by generalized musculoskeletal pain, associated with fatigue, mood disorders, and problems with memory or sleep. It is common in women, and may cause significant impairment in functioning.

Cause

The exact cause behind fibromyalgia is not known. It is thought to be a mixture of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. It may also be due to the after-effects of trauma or physical injury. It occurs when the pain pathways in the brain are amplified. Risk factors for fibromyalgia are:

  • Female gender
  • Family history
  • Other disorders such as SLE, Rheumatoid arthritis etc.
  • Stressful lifestyle

Symptoms

Symptoms of this health condition may arise suddenly or after a trigger event, such as a traumatic accident or incident, surgery, injury, etc. Common symptoms include:

  • Dull, constant pain in both sides of the body lasting for more than three months
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep, insomnia, sleep disorders
  • Cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating and paying attention

Fibromyalgia can often co-exist with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraine or tension-type headaches, bladder infections, and temporomandibular joint disorders.

Diagnosis

Widespread body pain for more than three months with no underlying disorder explaining the presence of the pain can be diagnosed as fibromyalgia after careful exclusion of all other possible conditions.

Treatment

Medication that can be used to relieve symptoms for fibromyalgia include:

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling can also be opted for.

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