Understanding and Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Are you constantly in pain, suffering from extreme fatigue and chronic headaches as well as irritable bowel syndrome? It is very likely that you are suffering from a disorder called Fibromyalgia. In the medical community, Fibromyalgia is not well understood. It is recognized, though, that certain people are more at risk of developing Fibromyalgia than others. Fibromyalgia symptoms can include everything from widespread pain to fatigue; menstrual pain to sleep disorders. Because of the variety of Fibromyalgia symptoms, there are a number of associated conditions linked to Fibromyalgia.

Pain is the main symptom that accompanies Fibromyalgia symptoms. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is pain all over the body for more than 3 months. It is not uncommon for people to experience achy muscles that feel tender to the touch and morning stiffness. Fibromyalgia pain is described as a “deep” muscle pain and may be felt as aching, radiating, shooting, gnawing, burning, exhausting and nagging.

You may experience other Fibromyalgia symptoms such as disturbed sleep (sleeping lightly and being aroused several times a night causing you to wake up tired and unrefreshed), fatigue, mood swings where you feel down or blue and problems thinking and staying focused. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary from mild to sever and may go on for a long time and should be discussed with your primary health care professional. Although this disease is not considered to be life threatening and symptoms may not worsen with time, it is still a hindrance to live with if left untreated.

When inquiring about treatment for your Fibromyalgia symptoms, you must be tested in order to rule out other possible physical attributes and issues, such as Multiple Sclerosis. Although there is not one singular test that can conclusively determine whether you have Fibromyalgia, there are certain procedures that can be performed to rule out other similar disorders.

The difficulty with diagnosing fibromyalgia lies in the fact that, in most cases, laboratory testing appears normal and that many of the symptoms mimic those of other disorders. A definite diagnosis of fibromyalgia symptoms should only be made when no other medical disease can explain the symptoms.

A proper history and physical exam accompanied with blood work and/or x-rays and questions of Fibromyalgia symptoms may be done to rule out other musculoskeletal disorders. Upon physical examination, the possible fibromyalgia patient will be sensitive to pressure in certain areas of the body called tender points. To meet the diagnostic criteria, patients must have prevalent pain in all four quadrants of their body for a minimum of three months. Pain is considered prevalent when all of the following are there: pain in the left and right side of the body, pain above and below the waist and paint in the neck, front of your chest, mid-back and lower back. A tender points test will be conducted to help in diagnosing Fibromyalgia. Tender points are areas of pain on touch but without signs of redness, swelling or heat in the surrounding joints or muscles. For a tender point to be considered “positive” you must feel pain when someone pushes with their finger with an approximate force of roughly the amount of pressure needed to change the color of the skin.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these Fibromyalgia symptoms, it is time to consult a medical professional to formally diagnose your disorder and to begin proper treatment.

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