Fibromyalgia is a disabling but hidden condition that about 4 million U.S. adults struggle with. Sometimes, it can take years to receive the correct diagnosis. Fibromyalgia manifests with various symptoms, but unfortunately, no specific tests can diagnose it. Instead, physicians use various tests to look for markers indicating fibromyalgia. Tests may include blood work and imaging tests.
If you receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you may qualify for disability. After all, fibromyalgia can disrupt your everyday life and ability to care for yourself.
What does fibromyalgia do to the body?
If you have fibromyalgia, you may have widespread pain throughout your body. Patients with fibromyalgia report pain, fatigue and emotional distress. You might find yourself more sensitive to all types of pain. Unfortunately, doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but they can distinguish between different symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms is pain and stiffness throughout your body. You might find that you cannot think clearly or remember things without much effort. Depression and anxiety can come along with it, which could add to fatigue and also aid in creating more sleep problems. Some patients also experience tingling in the feet and hands and TMJ symptoms.
How can doctors treat fibromyalgia?
To treat fibromyalgia, doctors use a mix of medication and self-management. You may receive medications for the pain, an aerobic exercise plan to strengthen your muscles, stress management and cognitive behavioral therapy. Doctors may try to improve your life with psychiatry or focus on your health outside fibromyalgia.
Treating fibromyalgia does not focus on a cure but on self-management strategies.