The main fibromyalgia symptoms include pain, usually widespread, and fatigue. The pain, sometimes quite severe, involves the whole body, and the person never knows from day to day where they will hurt. Weather, stress, and sometimes noises can actually aggravate and make the pain worse. While doctors do not know for sure why these people feel the pain they do, some believe that the person has an increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli. No matter what causes fibromyalgia, the pain is very real. The fact that most patients with fibromyalgia seldom achieve the deep restorative sleep level people need to reach to feel fully rested could be the cause of the fatigue. Sometimes the person wakes up feeling as if they worked all night, making it difficult to move, because their muscles hurt and feel weak. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include forgetfulness, depression, anxiety, irritability, mood changes, and poor concentration.
Diagnosing fibromyalgia can prove quite difficult. The doctor could do laboratory tests and x-rays, but these tests cannot help with the diagnosis. The fibromyalgia signs the doctor will look for include irritable bowel syndrome, tension headaches, and migraines, a complete history of your symptoms will help. During the exam, the doctor will check the “tender points” located in 18 specific spots on the body. When the doctor presses on these points the patient with fibromyalgia will feel pain, while someone else will feel only pressure. For the doctor to diagnosis the patient with fibromyalgia, the patient must feel pain when the doctor presses on at least 11 out of 18 of the sites. Each person with fibromyalgia is different and the symptoms can occur in many different combinations, because of this, the treatment will also vary from person to person.
A customized fibromyalgia treatment plan has proven quite successful. With a combination of exercise, patient education, reduction of stress and medications, the patient can lead a productive life. Swimming is one of the best exercises because it has a low impact on the muscles. You should pay attention to your body and learn to pace yourself. Too much exercise can create more pain, so start with small steps and increase as you go. Educate yourself about the disease by researching online, join forums and groups. Reducing stress by using biofeedback and counseling will help, but having the support of your family and friends is paramount. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Some people have benefitted from changing their diet. The list of medications will depend on your symptoms, and you should treat any other conditions you may have. You may have to try several types of medication to find the one that works best for you, but the result will make it well worth the trials.