Living with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a very similar disease to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). The key difference between the two is that the main symptom of Fibromyalgia is widespread pain rather than debilitating fatigue. Some doctors and medical professionals believe Fibromyalgia to be a different form of the same illness. Like ME/CFS patients, Fibromyalgia sufferers may experience a wide range of symptoms. Many of the symptoms of the two diseases overlap, which can make diagnosis more difficult still.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
As with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the exact cause of Fibromyalgia is still unknown. Similarly, while doctors cannot pinpoint the cause exactly, there are a number of factors which are thought to contribute. They include:
- Changes to the way the body’s central nervous system handles pain messages, possibly due to changes in chemicals within the central nervous system itself.
- Low levels of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine hormones.
- Disturbed sleep patterns.
- Genetics may also be a trigger for Fibromyalgia.
In addition to these suspected causes, doctors also believe that certain triggers can cause Fibromyalgia. A trigger will be an unusually stressful event, either physical or emotional, such as an injury, a relationship breakdown, bereavement, an operation or even pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
A number of symptoms can be caused by Fibromyalgia, with the symptoms and severity differing from person to person. The most common symptom of Fibromyalgia is widespread physical pain, either throughout the body or in particular areas such as the neck or back. Extreme sensitivity to pain, muscle spasms and stiffness, fatigue, headaches and even IBS can all be symptomatic of Fibromyalgia.
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
As with CFS, it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose Fibromyalgia as there doesn’t yet exist a specific test for it. An examination will usually be carried out and other causes for symptoms considered. NHS guidelines state that the presence of severe pain for three months or more is a key criterion for diagnosis.
If you suspect that you have Fibromyalgia you should make a doctor’s appointment so that the necessary checks and examinations can be carried out.
If you are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, there are treatment options available, such as the introduction of Patients’ Own Nutrition supplements for Fibro, dietary changes and lifestyle management. Read our treatment page to find out more or shop our online store.