May 12 is the day to raise awareness about this autoimmune disorder.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a:
- physical trauma
- or significant psychological stress.
In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Click to watch Crystal’s story about living with Fibromyalgia.
Who is Affected?
- Widespread pain. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
- Other problems. Many people who have fibromyalgia also may experience:
- pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- irritable blowel syndrome
Doctors still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together such as:
- Physical or emotional trauma
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
Therapies may include the following:
- Graded exercise
- Support group
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Chiropractic treatments techniques