What is Fibromyalgia?

SauravBanerjee By SauravBanerjee, 26th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3-6ucv_c/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Pain Management

Fibromyalgia is not just a fancy name for chronic pain; it is a specific condition which often causes many symptoms besides pain. It is also frequently misdiagnosed.

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Although fibromyalgia is a complex illness, the diagnostic criteria as per the American College of Rheumatology are quite simple – on paper. The diagnosis requires chronic pain in both sides of the body, above and below the waist and in the axial skeleton, such as the spine. In addition, at least eleven of eighteen common tender points must be painful (not just tender) on palpation. Some doctors are not keen on diagnosing fibromyalgia, if the required tender point count isn’t satisfied. However, especially considering the low reliability of the tender point exam, the patient’s symptoms should be considered as a whole instead of focusing on the number of tender points. There are also doctors who consider fibromyalgia as a spectrum, similar to the autistic spectrum.

On the other hand, some physicians label all chronic pain from an unknown cause as fibromyalgia. This is mistaken; fibromyalgia is not a synonym for chronic pain, but a specific medical condition featuring tender points, widespread pain and allodynia (perception of non-painful stimuli as painful).

Symptoms

Most people with fibromyalgia also have symptoms not included in the diagnostic criteria, such as fatigue, morning stiffness, insomnia, paresthesias (abnormal sensations), cognitive problems (”fibro fog”), nausea, muscle cramps and problems with balance and coordination. Often it is much more than just pain.

Different Types of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can be divided into three sub-groups: primary/idiopathic fibromyalgia (no known cause), secondary fibromyalgia (in the presence of autoimmune illnesses), and post-traumatic fibromyalgia (caused by an injury or other physical trauma). Fibromyalgia in children is called juvenile fibromyalgia, though it is usually not considered a specific sub-type. Still, even today we don’t really understand what causes the different types of fibromyalgia, and what difference they make e.g. in prognosis and treatment.

The medical literature contains many reports of people who have been diagnosed as having fibromyalgia, but have turned out to have another illness such as muscular dystrophy, Lyme disease or osteomalacia (softening of the bones). Deficiency in Vitamin D, which can lead to osteomalacia, can cause symptoms very similar to fibromyalgia.

Tags

Allodynia, American College Of Rheumatology, Chronic Pain, Different Types Of Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia, Idiopathic Fibromyalgia, Juvenile Fibromyalgia, Morning Stiffness, Muscle Cramps, Osteomalacia, Pain, Paresthesias, Vitamin D

Meet the author

author avatar SauravBanerjee
A freelance writer who loves to write on any topic under the sun. Also, experienced in the field of web content writing, blog writing, creative writing, and product reviews.

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