Learn about this historically mysterious and painful condition
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder that is characterized by muscle pain throughout the body. While the pain can vary in location and type, it is generally a dull, aching pain that is experienced on both sides of the body and below and above the waist.
Pain is the underlying factor with fibromyalgia, but other symptoms include trouble sleeping, headaches, irritable bowels, numbness in hands and feet, and trouble with thinking and memory. Most of these issues, however, are believed to be a byproduct of the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
In the past, when doctors could not determine the specific problem, they would simply label it “fibromyalgia.” The disease became a catchall term rather than a real diagnosis. With investigation, however, we now have a clearer (although still cloudy) picture of the disease, including what it is, what causes it, and how it can be treated or managed.
Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is still poorly understood. But thanks to continued research, we are beginning to uncover more details, helping us create effective treatments for this painful, persistent disorder.
Fibromyalgia: a look at the stats
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a wide range of information on this painful condition:
- Fibromyalgia affects roughly 5 million adults
- 3.4% of women and 0.5% of men are affected by fibromyalgia (A ratio of 7:1)
- Fibromyalgia patients are more likely to commit suicide
- People with fibromyalgia average one hospitalization every three years
- Fibromyalgia results in 5.5 million ambulatory visits a year
- Fibromyalgia patients are over three-times more likely to experience depression
Causes of fibromyalgia
Extensive research now suggests that fibromyalgia, at its very core, is a change in the way the brain processes pain signals, amplifying the signal and causing significant increases in the way a patient experiences pain. Because of this amplification, what other people feel as pressure, a fibromyalgia patient would feel as excruciating pain.
Although symptoms of fibromyalgia can occur on their own, they are often associated with a significant health-related event. This can include surgery, infection, diseases, or a traumatic incident, such as a car accident or serious fall. There is also evidence that significant psychological stress can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms.
As opposed to having a single triggering event, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can also grow over time, building up slowly and progressively until the pain becomes significant.
While there is an imperfect understanding of what causes fibromyalgia, the health and science community is steadily gaining an understanding of how to treat the condition. In most cases, fibromyalgia symptoms are mitigated through a combination of treatment techniques. These can include exercises, relaxation techniques, stress reduction, controlling depression, and managing anxiety. Chiropractic services can also be beneficial for fibromyalgia patients.
Get the care you need for to address fibromyalgia
Contact the caring staff at Pines Spine & Joint and let us help you experience a life with less fibromyalgia pain. Our multi-disciplinary approach enables us to design a treatment program that is customized to your individual situation. We proudly serve the Pembroke Pines community and the surrounding area, so call us at 954-430-8000 and schedule your appointment today.