Fibromyalgia is an incurable condition that affects your muscles and bones. While the disease cannot be eradicated, it can be managed and sufferers can enjoy a normal, productive lifestyle so long as they follow a strict structure of healthy habits, medication, regular exercise, and stress management. Fibromyalgia is characterized by a never-ending, burning, twitching pain across the entire body, especially in the muscles, with tender spots appearing for no apparent reason. Sufferers have great difficulty sleeping and often complain of not being able to get through even half the day without feeling completely drained and tired. They are unable to focus on a specific task and often have difficulty remembering both short and long term events and activities. This condition, the hazy lack of clarity, is extremely common among fibromyalgia sufferers and for that reason is commonly referred to as “fibro fog”. Ultimately, people with fibromyalgia fall into a general depression, with gnawing worry and anxiety over their current state and thoughts of what’s to come.
Unfortunately, there’s no way a doctor can say for sure that someone has fibromyalgia. Instead, they need to rule out a series of conditions with similar symptoms, such as arthritis and lupus, and in doing so, patients need to undergo several blood tests and x-rays. The next step is leveraging a two-part scoring program which helps define the extent to which the patient’s body has been affected by pain and measure the overall effect the symptoms have had on the patient’s life. Only once all results have been compiled can a doctor determine the best course of action to take.
Usually, the best way to treat fibromyalgia is with light to moderate exercise; walking, swimming, light jogging, and by just generally staying active. Low-impact, low-stress activities like yoga and Pilates are also quite common amongst sufferers and some even get involved in tai chi. Overall, exercise has a positive effect on day to day life, driving increased energy, feelings of contentment, and most importantly, helping fight insomnia. Doctors may also prescribe various medications such as Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Pregabalin (Lyrica), or Milnacipran (Savella), and depending on the level of pain present, and the symptoms presenting, they may also recommend any one of various over-the- counter drugs to relax the body and help with sleep.