Fibromyalgia – It’s not in your head, the pain in your body is real
Fibromyalgia – It’s not in your head
Because no laboratory test can normally confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a lot of patients have experienced the impression that the pain is “just in their head.” The medical community knows now, for some time, that fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms are real, with research suggesting it is caused by an error in the way the body perceives pain.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that is characterized by pain in the muscles and soft tissue. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles. Even if fibromyalgia does not cause damage to joints or organs, constant pain and fatigue can have a significant effect on daily life. Sometimes, digestive disorders, paresthesia, headaches, depression, irritability are also mentioned.
The frustration that patients with fibromyalgia feel over time is impossible to describe in words, especially due to the fact that, in most cases, there are no changes in clinical tests and investigations to justify the pain and discomfort. Being a disease difficult to diagnose, those around them no longer believe or judge them. Their frustration worsens with each passing day and at the same time the pain becomes greater and in the meantime other symptoms appear.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
The main manifestation of the disease is pain. The disease begins slowly, initially there may be only a localized pain (cervical spine, lumbar spine), which later becomes diffuse. This diffuse pain affects both parts of the body – both the upper and lower part, including the axial skeleton. The pain does not follow a typical distribution on a certain nervous territory but can be accompanied by sensitivity disorders (tingling, numbness, sensation of heat or local cold).
In addition to pain, other chosen fibromyalgia symptoms include:
Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often find themselves tired, even if they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disturbed by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea;
Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as “fibrophogen” affects the ability to focus, pay attention, and focus on mental tasks.
Sensitive points. One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of sensitive points in specific locations of the body. When these points are pressed, affected people feel pain, while healthy people feel only pressure.
Sometimes digestive disorders, paresthesia, headaches, depression, irritability are also described.
The impact of fibromyalgia on daily life
Constant pain and fatigue can trigger irritability, anxiety and depression. Affected individuals may find it difficult to concentrate on work, care for children, or do household chores.
Depression. Nearly one-third of people with fibromyalgia go into major depression when diagnosed. The relationship between the two is unclear. Some researchers believe that depression may be a result of chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest abnormalities in brain chemistry, which leads to depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain.
Fibromyalgia often coexists with other painful conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome;
- Migraines and other types of headaches;
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome;
- Temporomandibular joint disorders.
The symptoms can be accentuated in the morning, accompanied by stiffness, and after prolonged rest, which can be over an hour, similar to inflammatory joint or neurological diseases.
In general, symptoms are variable in intensity, but tend to worsen, leading to functional impotence, affecting normal social life. Over time, the patient may experience mood swings, anxiety and even depression.