Having recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I hear that question a lot... "What is fibromyalgia?"
According to WebMD, fibromyalgia is a syndrome, which means it is a set of symptoms that happen together but do not have a known cause.
Fibromyalgia causes pain in your muscles and joints, as well as tenderness when you press certain spots on your body. You may have a lack of energy and trouble sleeping. Though these and other symptoms can interfere with your work and home life, fibromyalgia does not harm your muscles, joints, or organs, and there are many things you can do to control it.
The main symptom of fibromyalgia is pain in the muscles, soft tissues, back, or neck not related to any injuries. There are certain tender points on the body that will hurt when you press directly on them.
Fibromyalgia also causes sleep problems and tiredness. You may get so fatigued that you become weak.
Less common symptoms include headaches, morning stiffness, trouble concentrating, and irritable bowel syndrome. As with many conditions that cause chronic pain, it is common for people with fibromyalgia to have anxiety and depression.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with no cure. Symptoms tend to come and go. You may have times when you hurt more, followed by times when symptoms happen less often, hurt less, or are absent (remissions).
Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia through examining two things. They look for widespread pain - pain that is on both sides of your body above and below the waist. They press on trigger points on the body to check for tenderness in at least eleven of the eighteen points.
You may be able to control your symptoms with regular exercise and by finding better ways to handle stress. Good sleep habits are very important, too. If you have trouble sleeping, changes to your routine, schedule, and sleep surroundings can help. If necessary, counseling can help you cope with chronic pain.
If your symptoms are troublesome, your doctor can prescribe medicines that help you feel better.
Symptoms of depression, such as a loss of interest in things you usually enjoy or changes in eating and sleeping habits, can often be successfully treated if you tell your doctor about them.
Some people with fibromyalgia also find complementary therapies helpful. These include acupuncture, massage, behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques.