You may have heard people talk about fibromyalgia, and you may have wondered, “What is Fibromyalgia?”  Simply put, fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that is incredibly common in the U.S. today. In fact, the only musculoskeletal condition that is more frequently seen is arthritis. In spite of its common occurrence, many people don’t truly understand the condition, and myths and half-truths about it abound. Here is more information, brought to you by Freedom Health Centers. You can call Freedom Health Centers for more information at (972) 542-3300 if you have fibromyalgia (or suspect you may have it).

What is Fibromyalgia in Terms of Symptoms?

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are quite diverse. What’s more, not every person who has the condition will exhibit all of the symptoms. This can cause diagnosis and treatment to be a challenge.

Probably the most common symptom is fatigue and weariness. In this sense, fibromyalgia patients may feel that they are suffering from depression (and many of them do) and not even suspect fibromyalgia as the cause.

In addition to fatigue, you may experience sore spots on your body or just a general feeling of aching. Your muscles could feel like they do when you have engaged in extremely strenuous exercise. Sometimes it even mimics the sensation you get with a pulled muscle. You might experience burning, aching, or other similar feelings in your muscles and joints.

Other common symptoms are chronic headaches, oversensitivity to cold or heat, a difficulty concentrating for longer than a few moments, stiffness, numbness and/or tingling in your extremities, and even incontinence or irritable bowel syndrome. As you can see, the answer to “What is fibromyalgia?” is simply, “A lot of things can be symptoms of fibromyalgia.”

What is Fibromyalgia in Terms of Cost?

The true cost of fibromyalgia is difficult to estimate. This is because there are concrete costs—such as the cost of drugs, therapy, and medical treatment—as well as more ephemeral costs such as the toll it takes on your productivity and ability to perform well at work.

Many people who have fibromyalgia are able to lead a relatively normal life. This comes once they have explored treatment options and discovered what works best for them. Unfortunately, in some more severe cases, people with fibromyalgia find themselves unable to hold down a job or do well if they are able to continue employment. For these people, the full cost (including lost wages) is very high.

What is Fibromyalgia in Terms of Treatment?

Unfortunately, there is no traditional cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, doctors try to find ways to address the symptoms that you may be suffering from. Further complicating matters is the fact that no one treatment for the symptoms themselves will work in every patient.

Because there is no one treatment, you and your healthcare provider will have to experiment with different approaches to see what does (and does not) work. Ultimately, most people who suffer from fibromyalgia end up finding that a combination of exercise—especially stretching and flexibility exercises such as yoga as well as aerobic exercise—and medication provide the best results. In addition to exercise and medication, some people are able to get some amounts of relief by pursuing a treatment regimen that includes behavioral techniques.

What is Fibromyalgia in Terms Frequency of Occurrence?

As noted above, fibromyalgia is second only to arthritis when it comes to musculoskeletal conditions. It affects roughly 5 million Americans. What’s more, the overwhelming majority of people with fibromyalgia are women. Somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of those people who have the condition are females.

For many people, fibromyalgia is not an issue until they reach middle age. And, although it is possible for the condition to occur on its own, it is quite frequently seen in conjunction with other diseases such as arthritis or lupus. There does seem to be a genetic component to the condition. Some doctors have noted a higher incidence rate among people who have a relative with fibromyalgia.

What is Fibromyalgia in Terms Causes?

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Rather, it is more likely that it involves a number of factors. Certainly, as noted above, it occurs more frequently among people who already have another condition and those who have a relative with it. Still, these trends are simply general rules of thumb. It is quite possible for someone with no other conditions and no relatives with the condition to end up developing fibromyalgia.

If you have fibromyalgia, or if you think you might have it, you should not try to struggle through the situation without getting help. Although there is no cure, there are certainly treatments available. You can still live a happy and full life even if you do have fibromyalgia.

Call Freedom Health Centers at (972) 542-3300 today to get more information on fibromyalgia.

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