Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by widespread pain in the joints and muscles that is generally associated with 18 tender points of the body. Some of these tender points encompass:
• Inner knees
• Sides of hips
• Outside of each elbow
• Sides of upper chest
• Top of each shoulder
• Shoulder blades
• Sides of the neck
• Sides of the back of the head
Most of the symptoms associated with this condition overlap with other conditions. Apart from ache in tender points, other symptoms experienced by the patients include anxiety, disturbances in sleep, cognitive problems and profound fatigue. It is known that the symptoms associated with this condition are triggered by illness, physical trauma. There are chances of other genetic factors as well.
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, this condition affects about 3-6 percent of the population from around the globe and is generally diagnosed in people between the age group of 20 and 50 years. As compared to men, women are more likely to develop this condition and the National Fibromyalgia Association states that about 75-90 percent of patients affected with this condition are women.
How is this condition diagnosed?
The worst thing about this condition is that it is hard to diagnose and there are no lab tests or imaging techniques for diagnosing it. The reason is that there are many other conditions that have similar symptoms like fibromyalgia. According to the report submitted by the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia is known to be present, when the following are experienced by patients:
• There is constant pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months consecutively.
• When an individual experiences tenderness in at least 11 of the 18 tender points connected with fibromyalgia.
New diagnostic criteria:
In the year 2010, the American College of Rheumatology, published an update about a criteria for diagnosing this condition. Accordingly, the doctor will identify the pain index that involves a checklist of 19 locations in the body and the severity score is arrived at on the basis of the rating given by the patient to the symptoms that are not related to the pain like cognitive problems and fatigue on the scale ranging from 0-3. The score received by a patient is considered for diagnosing fibromyalgia.
Treatment for fibromyalgia:
Even though, there is no treatments specific to this condition, but there are treatments that will help in bringing down the pain and for improving the muscle, joint function and for bringing down other symptoms. Experts are of the opinion that making some lifestyle changes can be of great help in improving sleep and in reducing stress, thereby they contribute a great share towards relieving symptoms.
The other treatments suggested for fibromyalgia include:
• Tender point injections
• Massage therapy
• Physical and occupational therapy
• Psychological counseling
So, worried with this health issue can rely on alternative treatment methods as well and can consult a health care provider in this regard.