Fibromyalgia is a common disease likely to affect more female patients than males. In Egypt more than a million patients are suffering from Fibromyalgia.
It is also known as “Chronic” Fatigue Syndrome. Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Researchers believe that it amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, or tightness
- Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
- Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
- Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
- Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks (“fibro fog”)
- Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Jaw and facial tenderness
- Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
- Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise
- A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet
Fibromyalgia symptoms may intensify depending on the time of day — morning, late afternoon, and evening tend to be the worst times. Symptoms may also get worse with fatigue, tension, inactivity, changes in the weather, cold or drafty conditions, overexertion, hormonal fluctuations (such as just before your period or during menopause), stress, depression, or other emotional factors.
When it comes to fibromyalgia treatments, there are drugs, alternative remedies, and lifestyle habits that may help decrease pain and improve sleep. Your fibromyalgia specialist may prescribe pain medication or antidepressants to help treat the pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety that come with the disease. In addition, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, moist heat, regular aerobic exercise, relaxation, and stress reduction to help your self-manage your symptoms.
There is no one “pill” that treats or cures fibromyalgia. A multidisciplinary approach that uses both medication and alternative of lifestyle strategies seems to work best to treat fibromyalgia symptoms.