Detecting fibromyalgia is extremely difficult. That’s because this disease has symptoms that resemble those of other conditions.
In addition, there is still no specific test capable of easily detecting fibromyalgia. Even doctors often have difficulty making an accurate diagnosis.
The treatment of fibromyalgia has advanced a lot in recent years. And the prognosis for patients is getting better. However, the challenge really is to diagnose the disease.
Therefore, it is important to be informed and understand the main symptoms to see a doctor if you or someone you know suspects that you may have this disease.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by multiple symptoms that usually appear together, including generalized pain in the body and also localized to some specific points, decreased resistance to pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
The symptoms appear to be related to changes in the way the brain and spinal cord process pain signals.
Furthermore, most patients are women between 25 and 60 years old. It is known that women are 10 times more likely to develop the disease than men.
It is not possible to detect fibromyalgia through blood tests or X-rays. Therefore, diagnosis is based only on medical examination and patient report.
Thus, many people with fibromyalgia end up being misdiagnosed with other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and even depression.
Therefore, it is essential to pay special attention to the specific symptoms associated with this disease.
There are several unrelated and very different symptoms that are characteristic of patients with fibromyalgia:
- Generalized pain for a period longer than 3 months
- Muscle lumps and cramps
- Anxiety and Depression
- digestive problems
- Dry mouth, nose and eyes
- chronic headaches
- Weakness and tiredness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes
- Hypersensitivity to cold or heat
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia and apnea
- Urinary incontinence
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Detecting fibromyalgia: pain foci
“Generalized pain” is a very broad concept. P or so, 18 points were set pain (nine pairs) throughout the body that are associated with fibromyalgia.
People who have this disease often experience pain when these points are pressed. This, by the way, is one of the tests performed by doctors in an attempt to detect the disease.
It is estimated that patients with fibromyalgia experience pain in at least 11 of the 18 points.
So be aware if you notice extreme sensitivity or pain in many of the following places:
- Behind the neck: more specifically at the base, at the junction of the back and neck.
- Front of neck: In the region just above the collarbone, on either side (or both) of the larynx.
- Elbows: Pain is usually felt in the forearm, just below the crook of the elbow, and usually travels toward the outside of the arm.
- Hip: The exact spot is usually where the gluteal muscles curve and meet the thighs.
- Lower Back: Back pain is common for many, but people with fibromyalgia often feel it in the lower back at the junction with the glutes.
- Upper back: More exactly where the back muscles meet the shoulder blades.
- Knees: Knee pads may be painful or more sensitive to touch.
- Shoulders: Pain usually appears halfway between the tip of the shoulder and the base of the neck.
- Chest: The tender points are usually on either side of the sternum, a few inches below the collarbone.
Prognosis and treatment
If you or someone you know suffers from pain in these places and also has the other symptoms we mentioned, such as constant tiredness, sleep disturbances and feelings of anxiety and depression, seek or recommend a doctor to rule out a case of fibromyalgia.
Treatment includes palliative medications, antidepressants and therapy. However, lifestyle changes can also contribute a lot to improvement.
Reducing stress, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and sleeping well, for example, are extremely important habits for reducing symptoms.
Bet on these simple actions that, combined with the correct medication, will certainly contribute to a better quality of life, with more health and disposition.