What is fibromyalgia and how is it treated?

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Fibromyalgia  is the most common arthritis-related illness after osteoarthritis. Still, it is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic condition. Its characteristics include widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue as well as other symptoms. Fibromyalgia can lead to depression and social isolation.

As you can see, fibromyalgia affects not only the body but the mind as well. I have a very close friend who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and she often becomes very depressed because of the limitations it places on her, along with the intense pain.

Medications are primarily used to treat fibromyalgia. Some of these medications are Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella. Physical therapy is also a very good treatment option. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also try to control it through diet and exercise.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Fibromyalgia is a chronic debilitating disorder of fibrous connective tissue and muscle. Any segment of the population can be affected but women suffer from the disorder more than men. Chief characteristics include fatigue, muscle pain and soreness, and pain in the joints or bones. Some people report this diffuse pain is mostly to the head and neck, others describe the pain as being all over the body.

Interestingly, years ago before this disorder was identified physicians were quick to discount patients vague symptoms. Currently, this disorder is well recognized as a true medical condition.

Treatment consists of ruling out other causes, supportive care, pain control with non-narcotic analgesics, and sometimes anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids like prednisone.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition or disorder characterized by accute pain in any place in the body that receives regular pressure, such as muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.  It is usually considered either a musculoskeletal disease or a neuropsychiatric condition.

This condition affects about 2% of the population and more women than men.  Symptoms often show up after a major physical or emotional trauma, but this is not necessarily a rule.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia.  It is most often treated with both physical and emotional therapy.  Patients are encouraged to make lifestyle changes that will reduce stress and promote overall better health (exercise, nutrition/diet, maintain a regular schedule, get enough sleep) as disruptions to mental and physical health make the condition worse.  Many patients also receive counseling.

In addition to these treatments, drugs are often prescribed to help manage pain.

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