Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is common syndrome of diffuse aching, pain or stiffness in the muscles or joints, accompanied by tenderness on examination at specific and predictable anatomical sites known as tender points.
It affects 3% of the general population, and is now recognised as a common clinical entity in many countries. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient’s symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles, but there are no measurable findings on X-rays or most lab tests.
While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints or organs, the constant aches and fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life.
There are no outward signs, may look well but feel awful. Varies from day to day with pain level and can be mild or very severe as well it can be permanent.
- Ache or burn
- Change location but more severe in areas of the body you use most
- Can also make you feel very tired
Fibromyalgia can cause:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Diarrhoea and abdominal pain
- Feeling an urgent need to urinate
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling irritable
- Poor circulation to your hands and feet
- Painful periods
- Depression or anxiety
- Forgetfulness or confusion
Obviously these symptoms could be from another cause so it is advisable to get checked out by your G.P.
Causes of Fibromyalgia?
To be honest, no-one knows!
Sometimes after a traumatic event, for example a car accident, can distrub the chemical changes in the nervous system that make them more sensitive to pressure and pain.
Some doctors think it’s caused by a lack of deep sleep, But it could be that fibromyalgia causes pain and then this causes a lack of sleep? This is when the vicious cycle begin!
Symptoms vary and there is no test for the condition so if you think you are suffering from fibromyalgia, you should see your GP.
Your GP may carry out some tests, such as X-rays and blood tests, to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
These conditions include:
- systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- under or overactive thyroid
- multiple sclerosis
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Severe depression
Management for Fibromyalgia:
- Psychology and Cognitive behavioural therapy:
- Talking to other people who have fibromyalgia can reassure you that you are not alone.
- Complimentary therapies – Some people find that therapies such as acupuncture and massage can help.
- These can help you to cope with the symptoms better and don’t mean that it is a psychological condition
- To aim is to minimize pain, mood disorder and sleep disturbances.
- Doctors may recommend medications that help ease your symptoms – rangging from painkiller that you can get from the Pharmachy store to prescription drugs – such as anti depressants.
- Don’t take over-the-counter sleeping tablets because they can cause dependence and eventually lose their effect.
- Physiotherapy manual soft tissue manipulation can reduce pain
- Exercising 3 times a week had shown to be able to improve fitness, relieve fatigue and depression.
- Keep in mind not to overdo your exercise. Perform gentle exercises that increase your heart rate and make you feel slightly out of breath
- Swimming in a heated pool. Heated pool treatment (hydrotherapy)
- Gentle muscle stretching
Physiotherapy assessment and treatment:
During assessment the physiotherapist will take a detailed history and make a thorough physical examination of your neck to help determine the source of the pain and help you plan an exercise programme to suit your needs and capability