Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread body pain along with sleep deficits, memory loss, mood problems and fatigue. Symptoms may be triggered after a surgery, physical trauma, infection, or stress. Women are much more vulnerable to this disease than men. Many people affected with fibromyalgia may have suffered from headaches, backaches, depression, anxiety, tension, temporomandibular joint
disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. Most of these patients have undergone multiple consultation with various doctors and undergone many tests, but no diagnosis could be made. These patients are often ignored by doctors and family members as always "complaining of pain".
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
- Extensive Pain: Pain related to fibromyalgia is often depicted as a dull pain that lasts for at least three months. Pain can involve any body part like back,neck, chest, arms, legs. Patients have pain in multiple areas of body and painful areas change over time.
- Fatigue: Patients afflicted with this disorder feel tired even after sleep. Such people are reported to sleep for longer hours than normal people, but their sleep often gets disrupted due to sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome.
- Cognitive Difficulties: These patients find it difficult to concentrate at work and also suffer from memory deficits in daily activities.
- Other Symptoms: These patients may also have symptoms like burning urination, urgency of urination, numbness,loss of appetite, tingling sensation,diarrhoea, constipation, tinnitus, depression etc
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia:
There are no specific test to diagnose fibromyalgia. Diagnosis is made by a doctor specialised in Pain Medicine using clinical methods based on symptoms and examination. Blood tests like Haemogram, Thyroid function test, RA Factor, ESR are done to rule out other diseases which can cause similar symptoms.
Treatment of Fibromyalgia:
- First step in treating these patients is to accept their problem and discuss with patient and family members regarding the presence of such disease entity.
- Lifestyle changes like active involvement in cardiovascular exercises, swimming, yoga, meditation are important to control symptoms.
- Conventional painkillers do not work in these patients. They requires special medications prescribed by a Pain Specialist for control of symptoms.
- Counselling of patient is beneficial for associated depression.