FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions):
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a multifaceted, chronic disease which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances.
What causes fibromyalgia?
The cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, however many researchers believe that it may be caused by a disorder of central processing with neuroendocrine/neurotransmitter dysregulation. People with this disease experience increased pain due to abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are numerous, and can vary from location to location within the body and cause moderate discomfort or become debilitating.
Some of the symptoms include fatigue that produces severe exhaustion, stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, muscle pain and spasms, sleep disturbances, headaches, facial pain, restless leg syndrome, impaired concentration and memory, digestive disturbances, urinary tract and bowel problems, lightheadedness, difficulty with balance, vision difficulties, ringing in the ears, hypersensitivity to light, sound, touch, and odors, mouth and eye dryness, dry, itchy skin, and skin rash.
Who gets fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia occurs in women much more than in men, and also can occur in children.
Is it a contagious disease?
There is no evidence that fibromyalgia is contagious.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Physicians who are familiar with fibromyalgia are able to diagnose this condition based on two criteria: widespread pain in all for quadrants of the body that last longer than three months, and the presence of tender points on the body.
How are "tender points" used to determine this disease?
Pain or tenderness must be present in at least 11 of 18 specified points on the body when pressure is applied to these areas.
These points are: Both neck muscles at the base of the skull; both sides of the front lower neck area; at the midpoint between the neck and the shoulder on both sides; the muscles on both sides of the upper inner shoulder blade; the edge of both sides of the upper breastbone area; both hip bones; both sides of the upper outer buttocks; both elbow areas approximately one inch below the side bone; the area just above the knee on both legs.
What treatments are available?
Pain management with use of medication, stretching and light exercise can be used to relieve pain, and promote sleep.
Stress reduction is an important part of treatment since stress can contribute to symptoms. Yoga, muscle relaxation, meditation and massage therapy can be very helpful. Stress reduction might also include biofeedback, relaxation tapes, breathing techniques, and aromatherapy.
Sleep management. Patients can improve their sleep habits by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. They should sleep in a quiet room which is free of distractions. Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, as well as eating before going to bed should be avoided. Medication can also be prescribed if necessary.
Psychological support. Joining a fibromyalgia support group or seeking professional counseling can be very beneficial in providing emotional support and helping patients learn to cope with their illness and to increase communication with family and friends.
Other treatments that can also be beneficial include physical therapy, myofascial release, water therapy, light aerobics, acupressure and acupuncture, application of heat or cold, herbs, nutritional supplements, and osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation.
Is there a cure for fibromyalgia?
There is no cure at the moment, however, fibromyalgia can be managed, and the possibility of remission is achievable by following the plan of treatment suggested by your physician.
What kind of damage does it cause to my body?
Although fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it does not cause any damage to your muscles, joints or bodily organs.
Is fibromyalgia fatal?
No, it is not a progressive disease, nor is it fatal.