What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a clinical syndrome characterized by chronic, persistent, and widespread musculoskeletal pain without any visible abnormalities in these areas. When do you consider chronic pain? The chronicity depends on each disease, in this case, we will consider it when it lasts longer than three months. But the pain over the body is not the only symptom, patients also experienced tingling or numbness sensation in extremities, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, headaches, and problems with concentration. It looks like not only our external muscles can be affected, but also our internal muscles can be affected, like our intestines or bladder. In those cases, there are a couple of syndromes with not know cause either, that are associated with fibromyalgia: Irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Like too many diseases, the cause is unknown. However, there are some triggering factors: spine problems, arthritis, or another type of physical or emotional stress that is important to consider it. It has also been found that there is a family predisposition, so it is essential to put emphasis to ask for family history.
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
The diagnosis is mainly clinical, and it is based on patient history, a complete physical examination, and some blood tests are necessary to exclude other conditions.
Fibromyalgia criteria according to The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) considers a person can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia if he or she has widespread musculoskeletal pain and excess tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific “tender points”
What is the management?
First, we must know there is no cure for this syndrome. However, it can be managed with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, education, and exercise. It is in these cases that it is always good to remember what Hippocrates said once “To cure sometimes, to relieve often, and to comfort always” So here we will give you some recommendations to use in a combined way in order to reach to successful treatment:
- What kind of exercises should we do?
- Goal: exercise for at least 30 minutes three times weekly.
- Regular graded exercises, such as walking, swimming, or biking.
- Tai chi may be useful, here you can read a study that shows god result about this technique
- How can I get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
- It is a part of psychological therapy, so referral to a Psychologist will be essential.
- What kind of medications control the symptoms?
Here you must follow your Doctor’s prescription because the following categories have some restrictions. Please do not use over the counter medications to avoid side effects.
- Neuromodulator agents: antidepressants or anticonvulsants
- Sleep medications
In conclusion it is necessary a multidisciplinary management.