I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two weeks ago today. However, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain and the accompanying symptoms that comes with fibromyalgia for about 10 years, without even knowing I had it.
As I go through the what’s and how’s of fibromyalgia, you’ll come to understand why it may take years for someone to finally get diagnosed with it.
What is fibromyalgia?
The way I describe it to people, I tell them that it’s like my body has turned my pain sensitivity level on max and my brain screws up the way it processes the pain signals.
Fibromyalgia and the accompanying symptons are like that one random person(fibomyalgia) who invites people (accompanying symptoms) to the party. You’re like first of all I didn’t invite you. Secondly, I really don’t know who you are but, now you’re inviting other people I don’t know? Oh Hell No!
Common symptoms include:
- Chronic widespread pain – dull/achy pain, stiffness, burning, tingling sensation
- Tender points – points (usually penny size) all over the body that hurts when the slightest pressure is applied (commonly 18 tender points)
- Chronic fatigue – no matter how much sleep you get, you’re never rested
- Brain fog or fibro fog – if you haven’t already, check out my post on how fibro fog affects me.
- anxiety and/or depression
- sleep disorders – some suffers from insomnia, others can sleep but, are woken up easily.
- morning stiffness
Many people who live with fibromyalgia may also have:
- migraines or other type of headaches
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- sensitivity to light
- urinary problems
- sensitivity to temperature
- sensitivity to noise
- restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- ringing in ears
- vision problems
and the list goes on and on and on…
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, researchers believe it could be a mixture of factors.
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Unknown – can just develop for no apparent reason
Lab tests, X-rays, etc. cannot find fibromyalgia. After being tested for illnesses that have similar symptoms, once those tests come back negative, it is then when you’re usually diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
This is frustrating to those with fibromyalgia because since you cannot “see” fibromyalgia in tests results, many people think “it’s all in your head” and it’s not real. Fibromyalgia is very real for those living with the pain.
Prevention and Treatment
There is no cure for fibromyalgia and it cannot be prevented. It’s all about managing the pain.
Is it an autoimmune disease?
It is currently not classified as an autoimmune disease. Fibromyalgia has symptoms that resemble some autoimmune illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis. It doesn’t seem as though that fibromyalgia attacks the body’s own healthy tissue which produces joint inflammation and tissue damage.
While evidence has shown that fibromyalgia can involve some abnormality in the immune system, it is different from the abnormalities found in autoimmune diseases. As more research is done on the causes and long-term effects of fibromyalgia, things may change on how the illness is classified.
This is a quick informational guide to fibromyalgia. I will be posting links to resources here and updating them as I find more information.