Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes chronic pain, fatigue and other symptoms throughout the body. It’s estimated to affect up to 10 million Americans, but many don’t realize they have it because its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions. This article explores its types, diagnosis, treatments and more.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. It is often associated with mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances and digestive problems.

Symptoms may vary in intensity throughout the day but are generally aggravated by physical activity or stress. Diagnosis typically involves an extensive medical examination as well as ruling out other medical conditions that have similar symptoms.

Types of Fibromyalgia

This condition can be classified into three categories: localized, systemic, and mixed. Localized fibromyalgia typically affects a specific area such as the neck or back. Systemic fibromyalgia involves pain throughout the body. Mixed forms of the disorder occur when both localized and systemic symptoms are present.

Additionally, some individuals may experience more severity in certain areas than others, leading to regional differences in pain levels.

Common Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is often associated with pain, but this disorder is associated with several other symptoms as well.

These common symptoms include chronic fatigue, difficulty sleeping, cognitive impairment, headaches and nausea, depression and anxiety, painful trigger points on the body, joint stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, abdominal pain and tenderness around the neck and shoulders.

Treatment Options

While there is no cure for this condition, there are many treatments that can help to manage the condition. Talk therapy, physical therapy, and medication are common options for treating the disorder. Many patients find relief with a combination of lifestyle changes such as stress management and exercise, relaxation techniques, and dietary modifications.

Medications used to treat fibromyalgia include painkillers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants to reduce nerve-related pain, muscle relaxants and topical creams for tender points.

Managing the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

A balanced approach to symptom management is the best way to deal with fibromyalgia. This includes proper sleep habits, regular physical activity, relaxation techniques, and dietary modification.

Pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help control pain and stiffness.

Muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants can also be helpful in relieving symptoms. In some cases, specific therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic treatments can provide relief from mild muscle spasms or joint stiffness caused by fibromyalgia.