What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints). Although like arthritis, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities, it does not cause damage to the joints.
In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience a variety of other symptoms including:

  • cognitive problems
  • sleep disturbances
  • morning stiffness
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • pain in the calf muscles
  • temperature sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights.

Who gets Fibromyalgia?

It is estimated that at least 1 crore Indians are affected with Fibromyalgia. More than 80 % of patients affected with fibromyalgia are women. It can affect any age group.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The basic problem in Fibromyalgia is increased sensitivity or reduced tolerance to pain. The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Many people associate the development of fibromyalgia with a physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic event, such as an automobile accident. Some connect it to repetitive injuries. Others link it to an illness. For others, fibromyalgia seems to occur spontaneously.

How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Research shows that people with fibromyalgia typically see many doctors before receiving the diagnosis. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, overlap with those of many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often have to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Another reason is that there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia; standard laboratory tests fail to reveal a physiologic reason for pain. So diagnosis made basically by a detailed history and clinical examination by an expert based on American college of rheumatology criteria.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, a rheumatologist, a physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and most importantly, yourself, all playing an active role. It can be hard to assemble this team, and you may struggle to find the right doctors to treat you. When you do, however, the combined expertise of these various professionals can help you improve your quality of life.

Exercise and yoga may help to relieve pain and improve the quality of life in these patients. There are different medicines which are used to treat this disease. Medicines such as Tramadol are used to decrease the pain. Medicines like  duloxetine , milnacipran , and pregabalin  modify the nerve signals and decrease pain in these patients.  Understanding the disease by the patient and family as well as close cooperation is absolutely essential in the treatment of this condition.