An inflammation of the fibrous or connective tissue of the body is called Fibromyalgia or Rheuatism.
It is characterized by general muscle pain, constant fatigue, and several localized tender points with these symptoms.
Known commonly as rheumatism, it is now called Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, and fibromyositis by the medical community.
Causes and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
There is no known cause of fibromyalgia.
It may be genetic, or related to the geographical place a person lives. Those who suffer fibromyalgia will complain to have three general symptoms: joint and muscle pain, stiffness, and fatigue (usually caused by sleep disturbance).
However, pain is the predominant symptom with pain without apparent reason, aches, and stiffness of multiple muscles, joints, and tenderness in soft tissue. Additionally the pain will move from one part of the body to another. It is most common in the hands, neck, arms, shoulders, chest, legs, hips, and back.
The fatigue results from the individual's chronic pain coupled (disturbing sleep) It is common for the inflammatory condition to produces various enzymes that are known to cause fatigue.
Some additional symptoms can include diarrhea, tension headaches, difficulty swallowing, numbness or tingling of the extremities, and recurrent abdominal pain. It is well known that stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of sleep will increase symptoms.
Who Is at Risk of Getting Fibromyalgia
Women of child bearing age are the most at risk, followed by the elderly. Men and children are the least at risk, but they also suffer with this disease.
Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
As the symptoms of fibromyalgia are vague and generalized, diagnosis is difficult and frequently incorrect.
As a sufferer may also have other nerve and muscle disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, the diagnosis may further complicated. There are no tests yet available to specifically diagnose fibromyalgia, so the diagnosis is generally made after simply ruling out other conditions.
However, as there is usually so much stress related to sufferers of fibromyalgia, it is now being diagnosed as a psychological condition (perhaps wrongly)
The Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia has no known cure. Therefore, doctors (and the patients themselves) have to look to alleviating the symptoms.
A good way to do this is to include in your daily life exercise, sufficient rest, lessons in stress management, and a "clean" diet.
A clean diet will exclude coffee, red meat, processed food, and other difficult digestible foods, but include a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin supplements are also helpful. Ginger, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and garlic are also helpful.
One's daily exercise will include various forms of aerobic exercise, with getting the heart rate to good levels, for 20 minutes or more.
Care must be made not to do exercises that could cause additional muscle and joint pain (i.e. if you are lifting weights, use minimums instead of maximums).
Warm up and cool off at each exercise session.
From medications, some muscle relaxants and antidepressants have been helpful, but are not good for the long term. Analgesics should be used sparingly.
Conventional medicine will resort to medication and some physiotherapy. However massage has proven very helpful, as well as acupuncture and acupressure (shiatsu). There are other alternative therapies as well.
Prognosis of Fibromyalgia
As fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, the general symptoms will both improve and then worsen.
The symptoms can last for months to years. If you think you have it then make sure you consult your doctor as soon as possible.