Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that is widely misunderstood. In fact, many people still believe the condition does not exist. However, fibromyalgia is recognized by all major medical organizations. In fact, millions of people have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are currently being treated for the disorder.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. The pain can vary from mild to severe and the amount of pain often fluctuates over time. A person with fibromyalgia may experience little pain on one day, but he or she may experience significant pain the next day. Fatigue, memory and sleep problems are also common symptoms of those with fibromyalgia. Due to the difficult symptoms of the disorder, depression and irritability are also commonly experienced by many with fibromyalgia.

Risk Factors

The exact causes of fibromyalgia are not fully understood, but many experts believe that the condition is caused by nerves in the spine that are overly sensitive. This sensitivity may create or exaggerate any pain that the body may feel. While it is not possible at this time to name a cause, there are some risk factors that seem to predispose some people to developing the condition. Genetics are believed to be one of the primary risk factors for fibromyalgia. If a person has a family history of fibromyalgia, he or she is more likely to develop it than others. Physical or emotional trauma, a sedentary lifestyle, anxiety and depression all also significant risk factors for fibromyalgia. Women develop the condition more commonly than men.

Treatment Options

While there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, there are a number of treatment options available. There are only a few prescription drugs available specifically for fibromyalgia, but many can be used to treat the symptoms. Prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers can be effective at treating pain caused by fibromyalgia. Exercise is also commonly encouraged to help fibromyalgia sufferers. Exercise not only can lessen the pain, it can also help to reduce the severity of the fibromyalgia condition.

As research into fibromyalgia continues, new advances in understanding and treating this difficult medical condition can be expected. A person with fibromyalgia should work closely with a doctor to stay informed of the newest developments in order to determine the best treatment options to meet his or her specific needs.