Before the actual disclaimer right below, I’d like to say that Fibromyalgia is the diagnosis I was given, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is what I have and sometimes we’re skeptical that my exact symptoms could all be caused by the same thing. Despite that fact, I still consider it Fibromyalgia because it is the only diagnosis I was given and we need to call it something. Plus, as you’ll see from my explanation, Fibromyalgia is basically a name for multiple symptoms, so it basically does the trick.
I am citing medical websites and definitions, but choosing what to include and how to word everything. Therefore, this adequately depicts my definition of Fibromyalgia, but it is in no way strictly medically accurate (though I did try). To keep things straight, the pieces that I have added because they apply to me specifically will be written in italics. Make note, everything in italics is that way because it is my personal whatever, and not the normal uses of italics (so extreme pain means it is extreme for me, not that extreme is really extremely extreme). I am including the links to my sources at the bottom of this page, so if you want to simply read those, be my guest.
Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is a disorder characterized by widespread chronic pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure (the kind that happens in life, and the kind that is applied on on your body). Tender points (or trigger points), which are one of the main characteristics of Fibromyalgia, are specific areas of your body where extreme additional pain is experienced when pressure is applied. Researchers believe that Fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, though it is believed to be related to psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. For instance, symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, like mine, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Not all Fibromyalgia patients experience all associated symptoms (this is a very important fact to remember). That said, common symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:
4. Sleep disturbance
5. Joint stiffness/pain
6. Bowel and bladder abnormalities
7. Numbness and tingling (in the extremeties)
9. Head aches
10. Cognitive dysfunction (known as Fibro Fog)
11. Painful Menstrual cramps
Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2%-4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1 (women are much more likely than men to develop the condition).
Fibromyalgia can also affect children and teenagers, though it is much more common in adults. Most of the time Fibromyalgia affects women over age 18. Even so, between 1% and 7% of children are thought to have Fibromyalgia or similar conditions. Just as Fibromyalgia in adults is more likely to affect women, child and teen Fibromyalgia occurs more often in girls than in boys. Most girls with the condition are diagnosed between ages 13 and 15. New York Methodist Hospital reports that children with Fibromyalgia tend to have a better prognosis than adults who have the disorder. Research indicates that more than 50 percent of children recover within two to three years while symptoms in adults usually continue over the long term.
One of the many reasons why teen Fibromyalgia is so frustrating is that the symptoms compound one another. For example, the pain of Fibromyalgia makes it difficult to sleep. When kids can’t sleep, they feel more tired during the day. Being tired makes the pain feel more severe. The symptoms become a cycle that is difficult for kids to escape. Fibromyalgia can be so debilitating that it causes many kids with the condition to miss school an average of three days each month.
The term “fibromyalgia” derives from new Latin, fibro-, meaning “fibrous tissues”, Greek myo-, “muscle”, and Greek algos-, “pain”; thus the term literally means “muscle and connective tissue pain”. While there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help. Fibromyalgia has been recognized as a diagnosable disorder by the US National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology.
P.s. I figured I would put up this info page so that I don’t have to explain what Fibro is all the time, and so that no one is left wondering while they’re reading my writing.
So, yay for never having to explain it on my blog again! Yay!
Song Quote: (like I would post something without one…)
Pain on pain on play repeating, with a back-up makeshift life in waiting. -Wait It Out, Imogen Heap
- 5 Myths About Fibromyalgia (flourishwithfibro.wordpress.com)