Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

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Symptoms Often Overlap With Other Musculoskeletal Conditions

Fibromyalgia literally means pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments. Fibromyalgia is an arthritis-related syndrome characterized by widespread or generalized muscular pain, tenderness or fatigue.

Fibromyalgia is a set of signs and symptoms occurring together, so it is considered as syndrome. It is not considered a type of arthritis, but definitely is a form of soft-tissue rheumatism (conditions which cause pain and symptoms around the joints, as well as in muscles and bones.

There is no inflammation associated with fibromyalgia.


The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Yet researchers have found out that people suffering from fibromyalgia experience pain amplification that is caused by abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system. Other researchers have firm belief that some fibromyalgia patients have:

>>Increased level of substance P (A chemical which increase nerve sensitivity to pain) in the spinal cord.

>>Decreased blood flow to the thalamus region of brain.

>>Imbalance of hormones in hypothalamus-pituitary-axis (affecting how the patient copes with stress)

>>Low levels of serotonin and tryptophan.

>>Abnormal cytokine function.


Other than widespread muscular pain which is associated with fibromyalgia and it is its primary symptom, there are other symptoms which are linked to this syndrome. The symptoms can occur from time to time and vary in intensity.

>>Severe fatigue


>>irritable bowel syndrome

>>Irritable bladder

>>Cognitive and memory problems

>>TMJ and temporomandibular joint disorders

>>Pelvic pain

>>Noise and temperature sensitivity

>>Anxiety or depression

>>Skin color changes


There is no single test available so far to diagnose fibromyalgia. Multiple other tests are done to rule out other conditions. X-ray does not reveal fibromyalgia.

In 1990 the American college of Rheumatology established criteria to be used for diagnosing fibromyalgia.

>>A history of widespread in all the 4 quadrants of the body (above the waist on both sides, below the waist on both sides) for 3 months or more.

>>Pain at 11 of 18 tender points.

According to National Fibromyalgia Association, it is estimated that it takes five years on average to get the accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia

Symptoms often overlap with other musculoskeletal Conditions

Fibromyalgia condition can overlap with other autoimmune diseases and musculoskeletal disorders making it difficult to diagnose. The defining symptoms of fibromyalgia are often associated with other subjective and objective symptoms, which occur in combination.

According to research 2 per of U.S population is affected by fibromyalgia syndrome.

>>In 1990 two primary criteria were listed by American college of rheumatology 1, a history of widespread pain involving all the 4 quadrants of the body for a period of at least 3 months.

>>The second criteria are that upon physical examination there is pain in 11 out of 18 quadrants when touched or pressed with force amounting to the equivalent 4kg, 9Ibs.

>> Most recent data shows that there is increased sensitivity to pain throughout the body, pain may be migratory or may exist as chronic regional pain. Abnormal central nervous system function may cause fibromyalgia according to researchers.

>>Women of childbearing age are commonly affected by fibromyalgia. Children, elderly and, men are also affected. There are non defining symptoms associated with fibromyalgia besides the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These include

>>Fatigue, night sweats and sleeps disturbances

>>Memory difficulties

>>Hearing, vision, and vestibular abnormalities

>>Heart burn, palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome

>>Fluctuations in weight, heat and cold tolerances, subjective feeling of weakness.

>>Ear-nose-throat complaints, multiple chemical senstivities, and allergic symptoms.

>>Tension, or migraine, headaches, rib cage pain.

>>Mood disorders like depression and anxiety occur more commonly in people with fibromyalgia.

>>Evidence on echocardiogram of mitral valve prolapsed, esophageal dysmotility (Muscles of esophagus not working properly), neurologic conditions causing hypotension (low blood pressure) and syncope( fainting).


>>Muscles fitness can be improved by aerobic exercises like swimming and walking, and it reduces muscles pain and tenderness.

>>Heat and massage can also give a short time pain relief.

>>People with fibromyalgia May b benefit from a combination of exercise, medication, physical therapy and relaxation.

>>Fibromyalgia medication options include antidepressants and muscle relaxants, analgesics, pain killers, sedatives, NSAIDS

>>What you need to do

>>Build a good relationship with your doctor.

>>A treatment plan which includes medication and exercise

>>Ongoing education, remain up to date about information regarding fibromyalgia.

>>understanding about meditation and relaxation tips.

— Dr Muneeba Rana, MD FUMDC.

For reference: By Carol Eustice via Verywell


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