Custom «Fibromyalgia» Essay Paper Sample



Muscle pain and the profound exhaustion are the devastating symptoms for people with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes ache and pain in the muscles as well as fatigue (Stuad, 2010). Hence, people with fibromyalgia experience tenderness throughout the body, especially in legs, arms, shoulders, back, hips, and neck. A person may have several symptoms at the same time. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (2014), the disorder affects over 5 million people in the USA aged 18 and older. The greatest part of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia (80-90%) is females. Nearly 50% of patients with fibromyalgia suffer from the sensitivity to various environmental elements. Others may be sensitive to food and medications (Nihalani, Schwartz, & Chlebowski, 2006). Most people are diagnosed during the middle age. People who suffer from systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis tend to have fibromyalgia. Thus, fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects mostly women and makes them experience pain in the whole body.

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Symptoms and Causes

The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are ache, pain, problems related to memory and cognition, trouble sleeping, the syndrome of irritable bowel, stiffness in the morning, painful menstrual periods as well as hand and feet numbness. In addition, people with the disorder experience the syndrome of restless legs, chronic muscle pain and muscle spasms, decreased energy, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and performing mental tasks. Besides, they are sensitive to temperature, bright light, and loud noise. However, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, depression, irritable bladder, and migraine headaches are also common. Patients do not have affected joints. However, the pain may seem to come from them. It may last during the whole day or worsen only at night or in the morning. It becomes more intense with anxiety, stress, damp weather or activities (Nihalani, Schwartz, & Chlebowski, 2006). A person with fibromyalgia may have several conditions at the same time.

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Unfortunately, the disorder causes are unknown, but there are numerous factors associated with them. Hence, fibromyalgia has been often linked to certain diseases, repetitive injuries, stressful or traumatic events, and others. Sometimes, the disease occurs on its own (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 2014).

There is a belief that the disease may be caused by hormonal disturbances, stress, and genetics. However, many researchers find that the condition results from multiple physical and emotional stressors. Some studies link fibromyalgia to sudden traumas, spinal cord, and the brain and spinal cord. The others claim that the disease is the reason of biochemical changes in the body. The brains of patients who suffer from fibromyalgia show structural and functional differences from the people without the disease. The issue of brain abnormalities that cause fibromyalgia remains unclear. Besides, scientists cannot come to the agreement concerning the common underlying cause of the condition. It is known that brain abnormalities may result from stress experienced during childhood or severe or prolonged stress in adulthood. Therefore, there is no common and scientifically proven cause of the disease.

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Diagnosis and Treatment

People should visit many doctors before fibromyalgia is diagnosed. It is related to the fact that the main symptoms of the disease are similar to the symptoms of the other conditions. Therefore, the diagnosis process takes time and is not easy.

Fibromyalgia causes numerous symptoms. It is difficult to validate the condition through lab tests. Therefore, pressing on tender points is among the most common ways of the disease diagnosing. However, the exam cannot provide an explanation of all symptoms. People often describe their symptoms as flu that lasts for a long time leaving a person exhausted. Fibromyalgia symptoms are often intertwined. Therefore, the disease diagnosis strictly depends on the painful aspects. Physicians usually make a diagnosis on the basis of two criteria, namely the pain history that lasts several months and the presence of tender points. Pain usually locates in the right and left sides of the body and around the waist. The human body has 18 sites that may experience tender points, and a person with fibromyalgia must have at least 11 tender points (Boomershine, 2012). Tender point means that a person feels pain when pressure is put on the site.

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Fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be hard to treat. It is essential to find a good professional (physician, rheumatologist or general internist) familiar with the disorder and its best treatment options. Disease treatment usually requires a team approach. A team may consist of a physical therapist and any other health care providers. Patients with fibromyalgia are often treated in pain or rheumatology clinics (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 2014).

Drug therapies include analgesics as they relieve pain and anti-inflammatory medication such as Voltaren, Orudis, Relafen, Lodine, and others. Narcotic medications are the reason of constant debate. However, this treatment option is used in some chronic pain conditions. Here belong Vicodin, Percocet, Darvocet, etc. Tricyclic anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, anti-convulsant medications, sleep medicines, and benzodiazepines have become popular during the recent years. Non-drug therapies, massage, trigger point therapy, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, change of lifestyle, water therapy, light aerobics, yoga, cognitive therapy, biofeedback, osteopathic or chiropractic, and myofascial release therapy are also helpful (Fibromyalgia, 2010).

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Numerous developments in the understanding of fibromyalgia pathophysiology have led to substantial improvements in the sphere of the disease treatment, which include prescription medication, exercising, and behavioral intervention. Fibromyalgia-related symptoms, especially pain, are successfully relieved through the incorporation of proper medication, aerobic exercise, different therapies, and patient education.

In general, fibromyalgia treatment includes pain management. This treatment option consists of opioids and non-narcotic pain relievers, antidepressants, and the other medications that relieve pain and improve the patient’s condition. Sleep management is another common option as it positively impacts symptoms. Good sleep is closely related to exercising, rejection of alcohol and caffeine in the evening, atmosphere in the bedroom, meals and liquids, and other factors. Psychological support is one more treatment option that helps patients with fibromyalgia combat a chronic condition.

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