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Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia).
Most people with fibromyalgia are women (Female: Male ratio 7:1). However, men and children also can have the disorder. Since Fibromyalgia disproportionately affects women, many of them working age, so it has obvious consequences in terms of employment and family stress. FM also occurs in all other age groups as well as in men, and it exists in all races worldwide.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, fatigue and often psychological distress.
Fibromyalgia has been described as a constellation of symptoms affecting various body parts and functions. From muscle pain to sleep disturbances and anxiety, here are a few of the most prevalent symptoms.
In addition to pain and fatigue, a number of symptoms may be experienced with FM. Like pain/fatigue, their severity may wax and wane over time, and individuals may differ in the extent to which they are troubled by them. Possible symptoms include:
Stiffness: Body stiffness is usually most apparent upon awakening, after prolonged periods of sitting or standing, or with changes in barometric pressure.
Sleep Disturbances: Despite sufficient amounts of sleep, FM patients may awaken feeling unrefreshed, as if they have barely slept. Alternatively, they may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Cognitive Difficulties: These include difficulty concentrating, "spaciness" or "fibro-fog," memory lapses, difficulty thinking of words/names, and feeling overwhelmed when multi-tasking.
Paresthesia: Numbness or tingling, particularly in the hands or feet, sometimes accompanies FM. The sensation, usually called "paresthesia," can also be described as prickling or burning.
Postural Problems: Individuals with FM who engage in activities which involve continuous, forward body posture (i.e., typing, desk work, assembly line work) often have special problems with chest and upper body (thoracic) pain and dysfunction which can, in turn, cause shallow breathing and worsen postural problems.
Sensory Sensitivity/Allergy-like Symptoms: Hyper-sensitivity to light, sound, touch, odors, and ambient temperature frequently occurs among those with FM. Also, it is not uncommon for them to experience reactions to certain substances accompanied by itching, rash, nasal congestion, and sinus pain (non-allergic rhinitis). Dryness of the eyes and mouth (sicca syndrome) can be a problem. They may also feel chilled or cold when others around them are comfortable, or they may feel much warmer than others in the same room.
Difficulty With Balance/Light-Headedness: FM patients may be troubled by vestibular problems for a variety of reasons. Since fibromyalgia is thought to affect the skeletal tracking muscles of the eyes, "visual confusion" and nausea may be experienced when driving a car, reading a book, or visually tracking objects. Alternatively, over-stressed muscles and/or myofascial trigger points in the neck may cause dizziness and unsteadiness. Some FM patients may experience neurally mediated hypotension, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate upon standing, which causes light-headedness, nausea, and "brain fog."
Raynaud's Symptoms: Some FM patients suffer from constriction of the small blood vessels in the hands and feet when they are exposed to cold weather or air conditioning or when they open a freezer. Hands or feet turn cold and white or bluish and eventually other colors like purple or red. Numbness can also occur with pain/discomfort later on as hands or feet re-warm.
Depression & Anxiety: Although FM patients are frequently misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders ("it's all in your head"), research has repeatedly shown that fibromyalgia is not a form of depression or hypochondriasis. Where depression or anxiety do independently co-exist with fibromyalgia or occur as a result of severe FM, treatment is important as both can exacerbate FM and interfere with successful symptom management.
The good news is that fibromyalgia isn’t progressive or life-threatening, and treatments tailored specifically for fibromyalgia an help alleviate many symptoms. As specialists in fibromyalgia, Augusta GA Chiropractors and Evans GA Chiropractors Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic customizes treatments tailored specifically for your fibromyalgia. Because symptoms vary from patient to patient, it is necessary to tailor treatment to fit individual needs and to find a regimen which offers useful improvement. Additionally, new research suggests that imbalances in the nervous system amplify normal sensation, making even a slight touch feel painful. At Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic your treatments are specifically tailored for the fibromyalgia patient: gentle yet effective. You can schedule a complimentary consultation today to find out if this may be the answer you've been looking for.