Understanding fibromyalgia for International Awareness Day

Posted on May 12, 2018 by kerri

May 12 is International Fibromyagia Awareness Day. Fibromyalgia is a disease that affects soft tissues, such as muscles. It causes body pain and fatigue, and varied discomfort among those with the condition [1].

Fibromyalgia may occur more often in those who have other autoimmune disorders (lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc.), as well as in those with rheumatoid arthritis or who have experienced traumatic injury. [1] Genetics may also play a role in who develops fibromyalgia.[1]

 

What are symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Pain and stiffness are just two symptoms of fibromyalgia—they can occur anywhere in the body, and also often affect the jaw. [2] Fibromyalgia overlaps with many other conditions, and because of this may be misdiagnosed. Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include stiffness in the morning, headaches, sleep problems, heat or cold sensitivity, “brain fog”—memory and concentration issues, and tingling or numbness in hands and feet, as well as restless legs syndrome.Symptoms will vary from person to person, and these are just some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Read a more complete list here.

How is fibromyalgia treated?

There are various medicines and therapies that can help treat fibromyalgia—however, there is not a cure for fibromyalgia.

Medicine used to treat fibromyalgia includes pain relievers that can be purchased over the counter or prescribed—opioid or narcotic pain meds are not recommended. [1] Some anti-depressants may be used to ease pain or fatigue. [1] Anti-seizure medicines may also reduce pain. One anti-seizure drug, called pregabalin, is the first medicine approved specifically for fibromyalgia treatment. [1]

Physical and occupational therapy, as well as mental health counselling may also be methods used to treat fibromyalgia. [1]

The Mayo Clinic also recommends lifestyle changes that promote general health and wellbeing—these are good for everyone but can play a greater role in managing fibromyalgia symptoms [1]:

  • Stress reduction
  • Getting enough sleep and maintaining a sleep schedule
  • Exercising regularly—walking, swimming, water aerobics and cycling are all low-impact activities that may help manage fibromyalgia. [1]
  • Regulating activity—pacing yourself and moderating your activities can prevent you from “overdoing it” on good days—but not doing too little on “bad days”.
  • Manage nutrition: eat well, limit caffeine.

Medical ID jewelry for fibromyalgia

Wearing medical ID jewelry for fibromyalgia is important, especially if you are on multiple medications, have multiple diagnoses, or are taking part in a fibromyalgia clinical trial. 

My Identity Doctor custom engraves fibromyalgia medical bracelets and necklaces for your needs. 

Fibromyalgia is a condition that needs more research contributions to further improve treatment options for the 1 in 50 Americans estimated to live with this condition [3]—this statistic is from 2002, and prevalence may have increased with better education and research in the last 15 years.

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