The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia is an illness characterized by pain in the nerves, muscles, bones and joints. For most patients with fibromyalgia, pain is widespread and occurs in specific areas of the body, which are known as tender points. While the exact cause of this illness is unknown, many patients share similar risk factors that often include family history and past illnesses. And although there is no cure, there are various methods that can treat fibromyalgia pain and accompanying symptoms. The following is an in-depth look at this condition, which includes information regarding possible causes, symptoms and available treatment methods.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Deep, widespread pain in certain areas of the body is the most common symptom among patients with this illness. Fibromyalgia pain typically occurs in the following areas of the body:
- The shoulders.
- The back of the head.
- The inner elbows and knees.
- The neck.
- The hips.
- The upper chest.
In addition to fibromyalgia pain, many patients experience symptoms that include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. Other coexisting conditions often include irritable bowel syndrome, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and, in women, endometriosis.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The exact cause of fibromyalgia pain is unknown. However, most physicians agree that symptoms occur due to a variety of factors that may include the following:
- Family history. Having a close relative with fibromyalgia increases an individual's risk of developing the illness themselves.
- Infection. In some cases, fibromyalgia symptoms present themselves following a serious infection. Also, major surgery and other types of injuries may increase an individual's risk of developing this condition.
- Psychological trauma. Fibromyalgia is often linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, which can occur in individuals who have experienced physical or psychological trauma.
- Low pain thresholds. For whatever reason, some patients with fibromylagia have an increased sensitivity to pain.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia
To prevent a worsening of symptoms and other complications, seeking treatment for fibromyalgia pain is recommended. In the treatment of this condition, methods like the following are often used:
- Analgesics. The most common types of medication used to treat the pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia include those that relieve pain and inflammation. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are common, and include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and Tramadol.
- Antidepressants. Certain antidepressants may help relieve musculoskeletal pain as well as accompanying symptoms like depression, anxiety and insomnia.
- Anti-seizure medications. Certain drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy are also used in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Lifestyle changes. Since unhealthy lifestyle choices can trigger symptoms, changes that include regular physical activity, a healthy, balanced diet and making an effort to reduce stress and anxiety can provide relief for fibromyalgia patients.
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