Fibromyalgia Syndrome Signs & Symptoms: Diagnosis & Treatment
Fibromyalgia is not to be mistaken with arthritis, although it is rheumatic condition, as is arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and deterioration of the cartilage, which acts as a cushion for bones and joints. Fibromyalgia is characterized by mild to severe pain, throughout the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Over five million individuals were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2005 (CDC) and the gender ratio (7:1) shows that women are more likely to suffer from the syndrome.
Etiology & Risk Factors
Mechanical stressors are linked to Fibromyalgia including;
– Sedentary Lifestyle
– Injuries or Trauma
– Repetitive Movement & Activities
– Endorphin Imbalance
– Emotional Stressors
– Sudden Trauma to the Spinal Cord & Brain
Endorphins are natural opiates (endogenous Morphine) that are produced in the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating pain and stress levels. They are released into the brain and spinal cord, when an individual is introduced to emotional and physical stimuli such as pain, extreme fear, and stress. They work with the brains’ opiate receptors to block pain and emotions. With the increase of endorphins, it is not uncommon to experience periods of euphoria, which does not lead to addiction.
Individuals that suffer from endorphin deficiency will have a low pain threshold and depression. An acquired deficiency is normally a temporary occurrence and can be related to a decrease in physical activity and emotional trauma. Most people do not understand the phenomena of endorphin stimulation. Although endorphins are released, when one becomes under stress or injured, they also can be over-produced, which makes them ineffective. Extreme emotional and physical traumas are the cause of over production, which causes the supply to deplete more rapidly.
A physical and mental examination is required to properly diagnose fibromyalgia. There are no medical tests that can be used to detect the syndrome. Physicians are required to collect your personal data and medical history. In order to properly be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, you must meet the criterion that is set aside, by the American College Of Rheumatology, which is as follows;
– Widespread Musculoskeletal Pain Lasting Longer Than 3 Months
– Cognitive Defects (Memory Or Thought Process)
– Sleep Disorders
If you meet this criterion, your primary care physician will prescribe several different types of medications to alleviate the signs and symptoms including;
– Anti-Depressants Drugs
– Over The Counter Analgesics
– Anti-Epileptic Drugs (Neurontin is often used to help relieve specific types of pain)
Physical therapy may also be prescribed to help with mobility and motion so that you can live a pain-free lifestyle. It is important to fight the urges of wanting to give up on life and lay on the couch all day. The more you exercise the better, you will feel and the more endorphins that will be released to naturally fight off the pain and depression.