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HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

Fibromyalgia is a condition of joint and muscle pain which affects the muscles, joints, tendons and other soft tissues of the body. It is a relatively common condition. Coexisting conditions include sleep difficulties, fatigue, depression, anxiety, headaches and related symptoms.

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Although none have been well proven, some people believe that fibromyalgia has physical or emotional traumatic sources or that it is the result of an abnormal pain response and may be caused by sleep problems. Some kind of virus or other microbe has been speculated to be the cause of fibromyalgia but this has been unproven and no microbe has been found. It is more common in women between the ages of 20 to 50 but can occur in men and women of any age.

Conditions related to fibromyalgia include chronic neck or back pain, depression, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme's disease or sleep disorders.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are basically related to pain. There is pain at certain trigger points near the joints, which represent the ligaments and tendons around the joint. The pain radiates from the trigger points onto the muscles. The pain is seen as a gnawing, shooting, radiating, deeply aching pain that can be mild or severe. The joints are not affected but are felt as being painful. The actual source of the pain is around the joint. A sufferer is often awakened at night because of pain and wake up in the morning feeling stiff and sore. Pain tends to improve during the day and rises again when it becomes evening. Pain can get worse with cold, damp weather, activity, stress or anxiety. Many feel tired when they wake up and never feel rested during the day.

Other symptoms related to fibromyalgia include memory problems, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness in hands and feet, reduced exercise intolerance, palpitations, sad or depressed mood, migraine headaches or tension headaches.

Tests for fibromyalgia include having tenderness in at least eleven of 18 trigger points. The test must be repeated in three months for it truly to be fibromyalgia. The locations of the trigger points include the elbows, buttocks, knees, lower back, chest, and neck. Other areas are the rib cage, the thighs and the shoulders. X-ray testing can rule out arthritis or other conditions.

Treatment of fibromyalgia can be related to pain control and learning how to cope with the pain. It involves physical therapy, methods for reducing stress and exercise. Antidepressants can help as can muscle relaxants to control muscle stiffness. Cognitive behavioural therapy is used as talk therapy to help with coping from the disease. Many fibromyalgia sufferers go to group therapy sessions or support groups so they can freely talk about their symptoms.

It is expected that the sufferer eat a healthy diet and avoid caffeine. This can help with problems sleeping and can reduce the severity of symptoms. Having a regular sleep schedule can help with this disorder. You should reduce your stress level and should improve your coping strategies.

Exercise can begin with short sessions of gentle, low impact aerobics, such as swimming and walking. You need to increase your level of exercise and the duration of exercise gradually so you can improve your ability to get around without pain. Make sure you stretch and mobilize your muscles before exercises and after exercises. Light massage is helpful, as is acupressure, acupuncture and relaxation strategies.

When you do cognitive therapy, you may need up to twenty sessions of one hour duration. You need to deal with thoughts of negativity, recognize your pain triggers, find activities you enjoy and set limits around exercise and activities.

Medications can be used specifically for fibromyalgia including Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella. Other medications used are antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, pain medications, muscle relaxants and sleep aids. You may be referred to a pain clinic for management of pain.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Fibromyalgia solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Fibromyalgia solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here