Fibromyalgia (FM) is the favored term for widespread musculoskeletal pain when no specific cause of pain can be identified. This disorder also causes many other symptoms like fatigue, memory issues, and sleep and mood disturbances. Unfortunately, FM patients often suffer from coexistent psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, or OCD. FM is the second most common rheumatic disorder, just behind osteoarthritis, and has also been linked to genes. Hypothyroid patients and patients with autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at a higher risk of having FM. Your chances of suffering from the disorder are also much higher if a parent of yours suffers from a chronic pain disorder.
Diagnosing FM isn’t that simple. It has to be thought of as a “constellation of symptoms” and your doctor has to use those symptoms to determine where the pain and sensitivity is actually located. To make the diagnosis, your doctor will test and examine many joint spots for tenderness, pain, and sensitivity. The only time lab work is useful is when there is a possible doubt about the diagnosis. In these situations, blood testing is needed to prove or disprove other possible conditions that could be causing the tenderness and chronic pain.
Treatment for FM involves many approaches, ranging self-management techniques to pharmacological treatments. These approaches depend on the severity of the disorder. While living with Fibromyalgia can be difficult, following the treatment plan set by your doctor can be the key to your success in achieving a better quality of life.