"Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia" is a perfect example of a paper on symptoms. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a medical condition that is most characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia, which is a heightened and painful response to even the slightest pressure on certain points throughout the body (Wilke, 2009). Fibromyalgia is one of the more common diseases that affect the muscles, though causing other symptoms in other parts of the patient’ s body. Given the fact that little is known as to the cause of fibromyalgia, it tends to be difficult to properly diagnose, as many of its supposed symptoms match those of other diseases; indeed, many people who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia have experienced other newer symptoms than what others before them have experienced.
As common as fibromyalgia is, only approximately two percent of people have been diagnosed with the syndrome. Common symptoms The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is pain. Though the muscles are involved in this syndrome, there is no tissue inflammation (Simons, 2000). People with fibromyalgia experience intense pain due to increased sensitivity on certain pressure points throughout the body, as well as having a lower tolerance to the pain.
The pressure points, also known as “ tender points” , that pain effects are most commonly the neck, shoulders, chest, upper back, and arms; however, the pain spreads throughout the body, hardly leaving any area untouched. The body pain of fibromyalgia can be exacerbated by noise, a change in the weather, and emotional stress. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include, but are not limited to, fatigue, which can be caused by the abnormal sleeping patterns of fibromyalgia patients, tension headaches and migraines, and abdominal pain.
Patients can often experience mental and emotional symptoms as well, such as poor concentration, irritability, depression, and forgetfulness (Patient Education Institute, 2008). It is also common that a patient of fibromyalgia has an already existing disease with the same symptoms, such as depression, lupus, and post-traumatic stress disorder; many times another disease is mistaken for fibromyalgia, due to the crisscrossing of numerous symptoms. As aforementioned, every patient is different in regard to the symptoms that they display. Even for those that do display similar symptoms, the consistency of the symptoms could vary from patient to patient.
It is because of this that it is difficult to properly diagnose someone with fibromyalgia. Remedies and treatments Some of the simple remedies recommended to patients with fibromyalgia are reducing stress, especially around the home environment, getting enough sleep and exercise on a daily basis, doing fewer activities over the span of a single day, and overall changing the general lifestyle, focusing on food and beverage intake, avoiding things such as caffeine that might trigger a tender point. Physical therapy is also suggested, as physical therapists can help a fibromyalgia patient exercise properly with having less chance of triggering one of the tender points.
Physical therapists can also teach the patient various exercises that will help them restore muscle balance, with the possibility of reducing pain. As with all forms of muscle pain, the application of heat and ice can aid in the reduction of pain and soreness. Medications are also available for those with fibromyalgia. Antidepressants are often prescribed to help promote sleep in a fibromyalgia patient; however, given the possible side effects of antidepressants, some doctors prefer prescribing sleeping aids.
Basic, over-the-counter pain medications are recommended, such as Tylenol and aspirin; anti-inflammatory medications with acetaminophen are often prescribed by doctors, though there is little to no proof that the medication works, seeing as there is no inflammation of tissue in patients with fibromyalgia (Mazoff, 2009). Anti-seizure drugs are also quite common, as they have the ability to reduce certain kinds of pain. Causes and risk factors Researchers have come upon a theory known as sensitization, which is when the brain receives increased sensitivity to pain signals, therefore making someone have a lower tolerance for pain (Pederson, 2006).
Fibromyalgia has been found to be a genetic disease, making family members more susceptible to developing the syndrome if someone else in their family already has it. Infections, such as those that have been brought about by long periods of immobilization, such as bedsores, have proven to exacerbate fibromyalgia. In regard to risk factors, women are more susceptible to fibromyalgia than men. People in their early to middle adulthood are also at risk, although some children have been known to develop fibromyalgia.
Those with difficulties in sleeping, or sleeping disorders, especially those with restless leg syndrome, are at risk, as well as people that have arthritis or lupus, in which the bodies have already weakened to pain. As aforementioned, genetics and family history play a rather large role in those who are at risk of developing fibromyalgia. Impact on patient A patient that has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia often experiences pain so unbearable that they are unable to move even the smallest bit. Many patients are often bedridden due to them being incapable of moving without triggering a tender point; they become afraid of the pain that would ensue and try as much as possible to avoid it.
Furthermore, their physical activity is dwindled down for the same purpose of not giving the tender points any reason to react; unfortunately, as is the case with fibromyalgia, even the slightest bit of pressure that many people are able to notice in a normal situation, can cause a trigger of pain that can sometimes disable a person until the pain has subsided. The patient is also subjected to a lack of sleep and strange shifts in their moods.
Life tends to be difficult for them; on top of intense pain throughout their body, they experience emotional shifts and temperamental reactions to their pain. Patients become weak from lack of muscle use -- another technique patients use to avoid the pain, though this is not recommended by doctors. Even for those patients that make attempts at remaining active, they soon find themselves enduring the unbearable pain that comes with having fibromyalgia.
Mazoff, C.D. (2009). HCV - Extrahepatic manifestations: Fibromyalgia. Retrieved from
Patient Education Institute. (2008). Fibromyalgia: Reference summary. Retrieved from
Pederson, J. (2006). New research on fibromyalgia. Los Angeles: Nova Science Publishers, Incorporated.
Simons, D.G. (2000). Muscle pain: Understanding it’s nature, diagnosis and treatment. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Wilke, W. (2009). Fibromyalgia. New York: Kaplan Publishing.