Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain around the body. The pain stems from a problem in the way the nervous system processes pain signals.
Fibromyalgia also causes symptoms like tiredness, depression, and mental fog.
Doctors may not immediately consider fibromyalgia when evaluating these types of symptoms, because pain is also common with many other conditions. That’s one reason why it takes an average of five years for people with this disorder to get diagnosed.
Knowing the type and location of your pain, and what other symptoms you have, can help your doctor arrive at a diagnosis. The faster you get diagnosed, the sooner you can get started on a treatment to relieve your symptoms.
Read on to learn some of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms, and a few unusual ones you might not expect.
Treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms
Three drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating fibromyalgia:
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- milnacipran (Savella)
- pregabalin (Lyrica)
Cymbalta and Savella are antidepressants. They work by altering levels of chemicals in the brain and spinal cord that control the transmission of pain signals.
Lyrica is an antiseizure drug. It stops the nerve cells involved in pain signaling from becoming overactive.
Other types of antidepressants and antiseizure drugs may also be effective in treating fibromyalgia.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pain relievers can help with short-term discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) aren’t effective because fibromyalgia doesn’t cause inflammation.
These alternative treatments can also help relieve pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- relaxation therapies
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- yoga and tai chi
Also try to exercise as much and as often as you can. Although it might hurt at first, if you stick with a program of aerobic fitness (like walking or bike riding) and toning exercises, you’ll eventually strengthen your muscles and reduce pain. Check out this five-minute workout for starters.
Start slowly and gradually increase your intensity only when you feel ready. A physical therapist can teach you how to exercise safely.
Sleep can be hard to come by when you have fibromyalgia. Yet a lack of sleep can make you feel worse. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or to stay asleep all night, try limiting or avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before bed. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day to get your body into a rhythm.
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs