Everything You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle and joint pain throughout the body. Other symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, memory and mood issues, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, bloating, increased urination, constipation, dry mouth, and sensitivity to light, sound, or temperature.
There’s no cure for fibromyalgia. However, treatment can help reduce the symptoms.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Research into the causes of and treatments for fibromyalgia is ongoing. Experts believe that the condition affects how the brain and spinal cord process nerve signals.
Research suggests that you’re more likely to get fibromyalgia if you:
- Are a woman
- Have another painful condition like arthritis
- Suffer physical or emotional abuse or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Don’t exercise regularly
- Have a family history of fibromyalgia
- Don’t sleep well
Some people suffer fibromyalgia flare-ups or attacks, in which the condition worsens significantly.
What Causes Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups?
Risk factors for fibromyalgia flare-ups include:
- Hormone changes
- Poor diet or changes to diet
- Modifications to daily routines
- Stress from work, illness, etc.
- Changes in treatment for other issues
- Lack of sleep or changes in sleep patterns, like with shift work
- Weather fluctuations
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How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
There’s no definitive medical test for fibromyalgia. Doctors make the diagnosis based on a patient’s symptoms, their medical and family history, and a general physical exam. A doctor may also order blood work and additional tests to rule out other causes.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is typically made if pain and other symptoms are present for more than three months.
How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Treatment for fibromyalgia focuses on managing and minimizing the symptoms. Doctors prescribe medications and lifestyle changes, including:
- Pain medications
- Stress management practices
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Exercise and strength training
- Sleep improvement practices
- Management of other chronic conditions
These treatments — and simply having the support of a healthcare provider who understands what you’re going through — can help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and flare-ups.
Get Help with Fibromyalgia from Baptist Health
While fibromyalgia can’t be cured, it’s not a condition that you simply “have to live with.” Your doctor can work with you to identify and address your triggers. Then, they can prescribe treatments that reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
If you believe you suffer from fibromyalgia, contact your Baptist Health physician today. If you don’t yet have a Baptist Health doctor, you can find one near you in our online provider directory.
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