Fibromyalgia Signs & Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a multi-symptomatic medical syndrome of primarily both chronic pain and an increased sensitivity to pain at specific pressure points. However, many doctors believe that fibromyalgia, also known as fibro, FMS or FM, cannot be considered a clinical entity since there are no objective indicative tests or concrete aberrations that confirm the disorder.
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There is a popular opinion that believes that FM is a somatoform disorder in which the physical symptoms cannot be clinically proven and diagnosed as a medical disorder or symptom of drugs and is therefore proposed as a mental disorder. The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology have recognized fibromyalgia as a diagnosable disease. FM is a medical disorder of the central nervous system in which people experience pain and abnormal hurt upon the touch at specific pressure points.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Chronic pervasive widespread pain
- Chronic localized pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, lower back or hips
- Pain experienced by light touches that should normally not cause pain (allodynia)
- Severe fatigue
- Joint stiffness
- Chronic sleeping disturbances
- Bowel abnormalities
- Bladder abnormalities
- Cognitive impairment (“fibrolog”)
- Cognitive overload
- Short and long-term memory impairment
- Inability to multi-task
- Impaired attention span
- Slow speed of performance
- Trouble swallowing
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle spasms
- Nerve pain
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Weakness in the limbs
- Numbness in limbs or parts of limbs
- Tingling in the skin
- Co-existing psychiatric conditions
- Co-existing stress-related disorders
Heightened and abnormal pain is experienced by FM patents upon being touched at nine specific paired pressure points on the body, a condition known as allodynia. Allodynia is the most famous telltale sign of fibromyalgia, although not all FM patients experience this symptom.
About 3% of the United States population experiences fibromyalgia, 90% of them women. Most FM patients are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although pediatric fibromyalgia cases also exist. 20-30% of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis patients also experience FM.
While it is known that FM is caused by stress, many researchers believe that fibromyalgia is caused by childhood trauma specifically. Although most FM patients are diagnosed as adults, it is possible for children to develop this medical disorder upon experiencing stress in their impressionable youth. Patients with FM have structural and behavioral brain defects caused by the stress that very likely caused or contributed to their disease.
Fibromyalgia may be painful, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. Consult your doctor today if you think you may be suffering from this disease. With exercise and adaptive and personalized cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications available to treat FM, you can take control of your fibromyalgia.