Fibromyalgia can be managed successfully

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Fibromyalgia can be managed successfully

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain disorders, yet it is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 22 Feb 2014, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:56 PM

Many a times, this built-up stress and emotion leads to aches and pains in the body which go unnoticed. But how many of us have continuous pain without any reason? That undefined continuous pain is known as “Fibromyalgia”.

It is a chronic disorder associated with pain in muscles and soft tissues accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood swings. Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain disorders, yet it is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia are:

  • Widespread pain
  • Multiple tender points over head, shoulder and limbs.
  • Decreased pain threshold
  • Incapacitating fatigue
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Memory Loss
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Sleep Problem
  • Anxiety

Dr Sudheer Ramatt Yousuf, Specialist Neurologist, Aster Medical Centre, Al Qusais says, “Fibromyalgia affects between two and five per cent of all people. Women are eight or nine times more likely than men to have it, but it occurs in both sexes.”

Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed between the age of 20 and 50. The symptoms don’t have a clear known cause. Major advances in understanding of disease mechanism, the investigators realised that these conditions are not caused by peripheral damage or inflammation of muscle fiber and instead abnormal the central nervous system mechanisms of pain handling. “As common disorder, fibromyalgia is believed to be a abnormal central nervous system pain processing that produces heightened responses to painful stimuli (hyperalgesia) and to non-painful stimuli (allodynia).”

“A patient suffering from this disease experiences some of the tender points in his/her body which is painful to touch. Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it difficult for them to adequate sleep or exercise,” he adds.

Factors that precipitate Fibromyalgia include peripheral pain syndromes like carpel tunnel syndrome, infections viral and bacterial, physical trauma, psychological disorder, hormonal changes and chronic drug abuse.

To exclude more serious illness, the doctor may run some specific blood tests. “A variety of conditions like rheumatological problems and endocrine diseases can mimic fibromyalgia. But a proper examination and evaluation can help clinicians make an accurate diagnosis,” he adds.

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause problems similar to fibromyalgia. That includes fatigue, muscle aches, weakness, and depression. As of now, fibromyalgia has no cure. However, in recent years, the vastly improved understanding of the disease and basic pathogenesis has made improved advances in the management of this chronic pain disorder by both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions.

Clinical evidence advocates a multifaceted programme emphasising education, certain medications, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Patient will be prescribed to take nerve analgesics to reduce the pain.

“There is no other better alternative medication except yoga and physical exercises especially for the people, who have chronic illnesses,” said Dr Sudheer.

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