Fibromyalgia (FM) is not a diseases. It is the name used to describe commonly occurring clusters of symptoms.
There is no simple test for FM and the diagnosis still relies on clinical evaluation and exclusion of other possible diseases with overlapping symptoms.
The main symptoms are
- widespread muscle pain, weakness and tenderness to touch
- feelings of fatigue,
- poor sleep patterns,
- low mood states
- reduced concentration.
- gastrointestinal symptoms
Often these symptoms cause individuals to become physically unfit and unable to do usual physical tasks resulting in a diminished quality of life. The severity of the symptoms may range from being mild and intermittent to severe and persistent.
Those with more pain are labeled as having fibromyalgia and those with more fatigue symptoms are labelled as having chronic fatigue syndrome. It often requires an experienced health practitioner to make the diagnosis.
FM is common and is present in about 5% of women and 0.5% of men. The causes are unknown and are almost certainly multifactorial. Extensive research has confirmed that these conditions are not due to any injury or damage to body tissues yet the symptoms of fibromyalgia “are real”.
Brain research has confirmed many abnormal neurological and brain hormone abnormalities but as yet there is no simple test for FM. Most research indicates that the symptoms are due to an imbalance and abnormality in the function of the pain system as well as the stress hormone systems of the body. There is a lot of evidence that the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls hormone function is underactive.
We know that every part of the body is integrated with, an influences every other part and that there is no separation between body and mind and hence why mind body therapies are effective controlling symptoms.
The challenge has been how best to manage these conditions.
Click here for more information on an effective approach to treatment.