Many professionals remain uncertain as to the causes of fibromyalgia and a cure is still unknown. Researchers believe that the disorder can be triggered by a single event or physical trauma but there are indications that it simply develops gradually over time in some patients. Women are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia. There are many treatments for fibromyalgia that help to lessen the pain.
If you suspect you might be suffering from fibromyalgia it’s important to first ask yourself if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
● Widespread muscle pain throughout most of the body
Many describe the pain as a consistent ache or noticeable discomfort lasting longer than 3 months. Typically the pain is felt in the majority of areas around the body and not restricted to a single area.
Fibromyalgia patients often experience extreme tiredness as a result of discomfort during sleep which makes it difficult to rest. The disorder can be coupled with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
● Cognitive difficulty
Fibromyalgia can cause cognitive impairment, sometimes called ‘fibro fog’ which is typically characterized by a lack of focus and attention when it comes to completing everyday tasks.
If you believe you’ve been experiencing these symptoms in conjunction with each other, or if you’re concerned you might be suffering from fibromyalgia it’s advised that you speak to your doctor to hopefully receive a diagnosis.
What treatments are available?
Currently, no cure exists for the disorder and fibromyalgia treatments only seek to relieve symptoms to make life easier for those struggling with the disorder. Every individual patient responds differently to these treatments so you may have to try a few before finding one that suits you.
The most common symptom reported by patients struggling with fibromyalgia is consistent entire-body pain, which can be relieved by painkillers. Some find that simple, over-the-counter painkillers can offer the necessary relief, and others require stronger forms of painkillers prescribed by their doctor.
Difficulty sleeping is also a common side effect of frequent pain. Taking sleeping medication can help alleviate some of the issues surrounding sleep by improving the quality and length of rest. These could be found over-the-counter or through your doctor depending on what you require.
Your doctor may also prescribe a short-term course of muscle relaxants to alleviate stiffness or pain in the muscles around your body. They can also function as a sleeping aid as they contain a sedative effect.
Besides medication, there are a number of helpful therapies designed to treat the mind to aid patients in overcoming pain barriers. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychotherapypy as well as psychological support that aim to help patients improve their outlook and ultimately their quality of life.
As there is currently no cure and treatments only aim to alleviate symptoms of pain and discomfort, many of those who suffer from the disorder seek alternative methods to treat fibromyalgia.
These can include, acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga, and massage therapy. Although the research is doubtful on the long-term benefits of these treatments, many find them relaxing and enjoyable and they won’t do any harm.