What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is considered a chronic condition that is accompanied by pain throughout the entire body as well as extreme fatigue. The pain is often described as an aching or burning that exists throughout the body while the fatigue often leaves people feeling drained of all energy and unable to carry out mundane tasks.
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can be similar to that of other conditions. Therefore, when diagnosing Fibromyalgia other conditions will also be tested for and ruled out.
In general, patients are asked about their symptoms and how they affect daily life while a physical examination will be carried out. This will check for obvious signs of other conditions such as swollen joints that could suggest arthritis. However, there is a criterion that is used for diagnosing Fibromyalgia which includes the patient experiencing severe pain in 3 to 6 different areas of the body or mild pain in more than 7 areas while symptoms have remained the same for a minimum of three months. Blood tests and urine tests will be carried out as a way of ruling out other conditions.
Treating Fibromyalgia is a case of managing the symptoms in order to improve the quality of life. While there is no cure, patients will often be seen by a rheumatologist, neurologist and a psychologist depending on their case. The treatment that patients receive will be based on their own symptoms and this will be assessed regularly to ensure the correct treatment is being received.
Medication for Fibromyalgia
As the condition presents many different symptoms, there is no single treatment. Therefore, patients can be prescribed a range of medication including painkillers, antidepressants, sleeping medication and muscle relaxants while alternative therapies can help in some cases.
Exercise and Relaxation
Even though patients are in pain and lack energy, an exercise programme that is tailored to the individual can help to relieve symptoms and make the condition more manageable. This could involve simple aerobic exercises such as walking or swimming while resistance and strengthening exercises can also help. Patients must also understand the importance of taking time to relax as which can involve relaxation aids, meditation and breathing techniques.