Facts About Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is related to arthritis. For those who have been diagnosed it is useful to know more about the syndrome (def. a collection of symptoms). The symptoms may also provide information to those who suspect that they may be suffering from the condition.

One of the first signs of Fibromyalgia is widespread muscle tenderness and pain.

Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to joints – muscles (or other tissues). It or therefore classified as a disease of the joints, but it is related to arthritis. The American College of Rheumatology established the criteria used to classify Fibromyalgia in 1990 (in order to facilitate research into the condition).

One of the most telling of the criteria is a history of pain affecting all four quadrants of the body. These are both sides of the body about the waist and both sides of the body below the waist. The history of such pain should stretch back for a minimum of three months.

Pain should be present at least 11 of the ‘tender point sites.
Fibromyalgia can be a primary or what is classified as a secondary condition.
It is identified as a primary condition when characterized by muscular pain. It is classified as a secondary condition/syndrome when associated with chronic conditions like a range of rheumatic diseases.

These conditions can include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis. Those suffering from these conditions are at an elevated risk of developing fibromyalgia. It is common for patients to be confused as to whether they have symptoms that are shared between two conditions, or whether the conditions are unrelated.

Fibromyalgia can often escape diagnosis due to the fact that research is still ongoing and that symptoms are prone to misunderstanding. In fact, they are often unrecognized – and may remain so for extended periods of time, sometimes years.

The symptoms of the condition are often confused with those related to other conditions. These symptoms can mimic those associated with other rheumatic diseases. Research by the National Fibromyalgia Association has revealed that it can take up to five years to get an accurate diagnosis.

Another sign that patients may be suffering from Fybromyalitis is that they often complain about sleep disorders and severe fatigue. Up to 90% of patients report these symptoms.

The problems resulting from lack of quality sleep (non-restorative sleep) can include cognitive issues, lack of energy, and memory loss.

In addition to these issues, there are other warning signs related to Fibromyalitus.

These additional symptoms may appear to be distinct but are in fact part of a basket of syndromes related to Fibromyalitis.

In addition to muscular pain, chronic fatigue, and tenderness, patients may also experience:

  • Irritable bowel/bladder syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Depression
  • Panic and stress-related disorders

There are also a number of psychological conditions that have come to be associated with Fibromyalgia.

An extensive 11-year study by an American College of Rheumatology, as reported by Yunus and colleagues (involving 307 patients) revealed that just over 30% of the study group had a combination of severe psychological challenges, as well as physical symptoms. Another third reported mild psychological issues combined with mild physical issues. Some people are saying long covid leads to fibromyalgia to find out more see fibrocovid.

Each patient reports different symptoms

The enormous variety of symptoms involved in Fibromyalgia means that each individual displays different manifestations of the condition.

The variability of symptoms indicates that there may very well be subtypes of Fibromyalgia. One of the treatment challenges is the fact that these may manifest over time – and directly influence treatment options. Until research can define the cause of Fibromyalgia this variability of symptoms will remain a challenge.

The situation is further complicated by a lack of a definitive test for Fibromyalgia

This means that the condition can only be identified by symptoms and the presence of ‘tender points. No blood test or x-ray (for example) will reveal Fibromyalgia.

The diagnosis is solely based on symptoms that are discovered during a physical examination. The purpose of diagnostic testing is to eliminate the possibility of other conditions or to discover more about the symptoms themselves.

Related Posts