Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness, fatigue, and a host of other symptoms. It is estimated to affect over 5 million people in the United States, and is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 50.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but several theories exist, including:
- Abnormalities in brain chemistry or pain processing
- Hormonal imbalances
- Physical or emotional trauma
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from person to person, but may include:
- Widespread pain and tenderness
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Depression and anxiety
- Headaches and migraines
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be challenging, as there is no single test for the condition. A healthcare provider will typically consider a patient’s medical history, symptoms, and physical examination findings when making a diagnosis.
Treatment for fibromyalgia may include:
Medications: Pain relievers, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure drugs may be used to manage pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Physical therapy: Exercise and physical therapy can help improve flexibility, strength, and endurance, and reduce pain and stiffness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: Talking with a mental health professional about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can help manage symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as anxiety and depression.
Complementary therapies: Massage, acupuncture, and other complementary therapies may help relieve pain and improve quality of life for people with fibromyalgia.