Fibromyalgia: Pain That May Never Go Away

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that brings widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This condition may also be accompanied with fatigue and sleep disorders. Medical studies show that as many as six million Americans have fibromyalgia, many of them are women. And no matter how many over the counter muscle relaxants and prescription drugs they take, these individuals still experience pain. The severity of pain that accompany fibromyalgia may vary from person to person. This condition should never be taken for granted even though it is not progressive or life-threatening.

Fibromyalgia can cause pain all over the body but the most commonly affected parts include the elbow, forearm, hip, knee, back, forearm, jaw, and shoulder. In addition to pain, fatigue and sleep difficulties are the other symptoms that can be experienced by individuals with fibromyalgia. These individuals may feel tired even after hours of sleep.

Other symptoms may include the following:

Irritable bowel syndrome (constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.)
Headaches and facial pain
Numbness in the hands and feet
Mood changes
Chest pain
Dry eyes, skin, and mouth
Painful menstruation

Researchers have not determined the exact cause of this condition. But some specialists suggest that the increased sensitivity to pain is developed because of an abnormal increase in levels of chemicals in the brain. Because of this abnormality, the brain may interpret ordinary sensations as pain.

Other possible causes of fibromyalgia may include the following:

Sleep disturbances. Some researchers theorize that disturbed sleep patterns may be a cause rather than just a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Injury. An injury or trauma, particularly in the upper spinal region, may trigger the development of fibromyalgia in some people. An injury may affect your central nervous system, which may trigger fibromyalgia.
Infection. Some researchers believe that a viral or bacterial infection may trigger fibromyalgia.
Changes in muscle metabolism. For example, de-conditioning and decreased blood flow to the muscles may contribute to decreased strength and fatigue. Differences in metabolism and abnormalities in the hormonal substance that influences the activity of nerves may play a role.

Treatment for fibromyalgia may include medication and self care. Medications may reduce the pain and improve one's sleep. Analgesics and over the counter muscle relaxants may be used for this condition. Analgesics may ease pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium may be recommended by health professionals. Taking muscle relaxants before bedtime may help treat muscle pain and spasms. However, these drugs should be used for only a short time because to prevent the development of side effects and drug interactions.

Affected individuals may not only deal with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia but also with the frustration of having a condition that is often misunderstood. Understanding this condition and finding individuals like family, friends, co-workers, support groups to share information about fibromyalgia is essential in overcoming the pain. Support groups may provide a level of help and advice that you might not find anywhere else.

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