A: Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, or set of symptoms, that causes pain throughout your body. This condition is often misunderstood and thought to be “in your head.” However, this is not true. Research has shown that fibromyalgia is a real syndrome manifested with real symptoms.
Pain from fibromyalgia is located in areas called “tender points” when pressure is applied. The most common tender point areas are on the back of the head, elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and neck. Other symptoms include muscle stiffness, abnormal sensation in hands/arms/legs, fatigue and trouble sleeping. Often times, people with fibromyalgia also suffer from other medical problems such as depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches and restless leg syndrome.
There is no test to diagnose fibromyalgia. Because of this, it may take years before some people are diagnosed. Often times it is necessary to rule out other causes of your symptoms before the diagnosis can be made.
Fibromyalgia is often a chronic illness, meaning it is ongoing. There is no cure, but there are many treatment options to help you feel better. Many people require several treatment modalities before they feel better. Treatments include prescription medications, such as anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants. Other treatment options include physical therapy, counseling and exercise. Many people find relief with combining some or all of these treatment options.
Information from www.familydoctor.org, provided by Sally Bennett, PA-C, Mercy East Family Practice, 5900 E. University Ave., Suite 200, 643-2400.