Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects the body’s tissues and muscles causing many different widespread symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms may include unexplained pain, sleep disturbances, lack of energy, low mood and more.
Many people do not understand the total effect that fibromyalgia can have on the body. If left undiagnosed and untreated fibromyalgia can cause physical deterioration, depression and poor quality of life. If fibromyalgia is treated correctly symptoms can be effectively managed and quality of life can be restored. Read on to find out more about fibromyalgia.
Signs and Symptoms
Fibromyalgia can cause many different symptoms. Not all people who have fibromyalgia will suffer the same symptoms or to the same extent. Some of the most common symptoms that a person with fibromyalgia might experience include:
- Low energy
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty falling asleep
- General fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low mood
- Muscle aches
Fibromyalgia is not the easiest medical condition to diagnose because its symptoms overlap with many other diseases. That is why it is important to go in to your doctor to be properly diagnosed, rather than diagnosing yourself based on information you have read on the internet. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will perform a physical examination. Some of the most common tests that are used to diagnose fibromyalgia include the blood tests that will check for certain indicators, kidney function and more. The blood test called FM/a is also used to help distinguish fibromyalgia from other medical conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor may want you to undergo other testing to rule out other diseases.
Antidepressants For Fibromyalgia
Antidepressants may serve as an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. However, current research is inconclusive as to whether they are safe for long-term use.
Fibromyalgia is still one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose and treat. In spite of recent research, the disease is not well-understood—a hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread, chronic pain with no identifiable cause. Other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and depressed mood.
There are five main types of antidepressants. Other widespread antidepressants include serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Findings from a meta-analysis of 18 studies wherein fibromyalgia patients were prescribed antidepressants indicated that different types of antidepressants have unique advantages and disadvantages in the treatment of fibromyalgia. These include:
- Given in low doses certain medications had the most profound impact on pain, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. These drugs had the lowest effect on depressed mood.
- SNRIs, including, had a small impact on pain, depressed mood, and sleep disturbances.
- SSRI antidepressants had a small but positive effect on pain and low mood, but no significant effect on fatigue and sleep disturbances.
- Finally, MAOIs proved to have a modest positive effect on pain, but little effect on fatigue or sleeplessness.
Currently there is no cure for fibromyalgia, although researchers are working hard to find out more about the condition and how to effectively treat it. Fortunately there are many current treatments available that can give relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Your doctor will create a treatment plan for your specific symptoms and health concerns. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Medication is often used to help treat the pain and sleep disturbances associated with fibromyalgia.
- As mentioned above, antidepressants can be used to help treat low mood and depression.
- Physical therapy
- Fibromyalgia can affect a person’s overall mobility and muscle strength. That is why physical therapy is recommended to help keep the muscles strong.
- Water therapy
- Some people find that physical therapy in the water provides a lot of relief from pressure and pain.
- Home treatments
- Hot Epsom salt baths can provide relief from body pain and inflammation.
- Moderate daily exercise like walking or daily stretching can keep muscles strong.
- Muscle rubs, hot water bottles and ice packs can be applied to painful areas for relief.
Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia there are many treatments that can make symptoms more manageable. Working with your doctor to stay proactive about your fibromyalgia concerns is a positive way to stay on top of your overall health. Your doctor you will create treatment plans to target your specific symptoms giving you a better quality of life.