Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic medical disorder characterized by an intense pain response to physical pressure on the body. Although little known about FM and its origins, roughly two to eight percent of the general population is known to have fibromyalgia. Do you have fibromyalgia? Use this simple checklist to find out.
Fibromyalgia: What Is It?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that affects the muscles and tissues of the human body. Much of fibromyalgia is not understood by the medical community. However, the condition is known to run in families, which suggests that it is ultimately a hereditary disease. It is typically linked to other physical and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Most FM patients cite persistent bodily ailments that come along with fibromyalgia. For instance, bowel and bladder irritation or irregularities are common among those living with FM. Nearly all FM patients who seek treatment cite fatigue, sleepiness, and an inability to perform day to day activities due to fibromyalgia-related symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is classified as a chronic health disorder by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It is pathologically similar to rheumatoid arthritis in that it involves chronic physical sensitivity in the body. However, it is distinct from arthritis because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints.
Simply put, the causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. It is generally understood that a variety of factors must be involved in the formation of fibromyalgia, although specific details are lacking. There is some evidence, for example, that suggests that early childhood trauma is a risk factor for FM development later in life. This includes any early childhood exposure to severe trauma.
For others, fibromyalgia can develop as a side effect of another illness, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or arthritis. In other cases, FM can set in after neurological damage to the brain to the central nervous system. Although little concrete knowledge exists about the causes of FM, more and more research is produced every year toward understanding its origins.
The Fibromyalgia Checklist
Now that we understand what fibromyalgia is, let us now go over the checklist of FM symptoms and early warning signs. If you exhibit any combination of the following symptoms, you should speak with your doctor about screening for fibromyalgia.
Painful Pressure Points
The most common telltale sign of fibromyalgia is the presence of painful pressure points. This is a universal symptom among all FM patients and often what sets fibromyalgia apart from other somatic illnesses. The most sensitive pressure points are at the back of the head, the front of the neck, the elbows, the sides of the hips, and backs of the knees.
Most of those living with fibromyalgia cite chronic fatigue and exhaustion as a prominent symptom. This symptom usually leads to sleep difficulties, such as narcolepsy.
Inability to Concentrate
It is not uncommon to find fibromyalgia patients that report an inability to concentrate, otherwise known as “brain fog.” Sometimes, brain fog can manifest as forgetfulness or an inability to find the right words during speech.
Headaches and Migraines
Painful headaches and migraines are another common symptoms of fibromyalgia. These headaches are usually not triggered by any specific environmental stimulus.
Painful Menstrual Cycles
For women, painful menstrual cycles are a hallmark of fibromyalgia. This can cause serious pain and discomfort, requiring pharmaceutical intervention.
Irritable Bowel or Bladder
Many fibromyalgia patients are also diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or bladder-related issues.
Sensitivity to Environment
Experiencing pain or discomfort from changes in temperature, exposure to bright lights or sudden loud sounds is a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Usually, during nighttime hours or while one is trying to fall asleep, fibromyalgia patients often experience restless leg syndrome or general feelings of restlessness.
Self-Examinations for Fibromyalgia
If you suspect that you might have fibromyalgia based on the checklist above, consider taking the CFS and fibromyalgia test. This reputable test was developed in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for fibromyalgia as well as the American College of Rheumatology’s standards for diagnosing fibromyalgia.
How to Treat Fibromyalgia
There are medicinal and non-medicinal treatments for fibromyalgia that are used to help manage the pain associated with FM symptoms. The primary frontline treatments for FM are non-medication treatments, such as regular exercise, health education, stress reduction practices, and proper sleep hygiene.
One of the best methods of treating fibromyalgia is to abide by a strict aerobic exercise regimen. Whether walking down the block every day or weight training the gym five days a week, those living with FM must incorporate some form of regular exercise into their lifestyle.
The most common fibromyalgia medications are tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and doxepin (Silenor). These medications are capable of relaxing soft tissues in the body which can help ease pain and induce sleep for those who struggle with maintaining a normal sleep pattern.
Ketamine for Fibromyalgia?
In recent years, ketamine has been the subject of significant media attention and scientific scrutiny for its ability to treat fibromyalgia. According to several scientific reports, intravenous ketamine infusion therapy has the potential to powerfully reduce the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Ketamine was first discovered in the 1960s and soon gained widespread recognition as a fast-acting analgesic and anesthetic drug to kill the pain. By the 1970s, ketamine became the leading anesthetic in veterinary medicine for large mammals. However, beginning in the early 2000s, medical clinics around the world have used ketamine off-label for treatment in humans.
Ketamine: Is it Right for You?
Are your fibromyalgia symptoms persisting despite your best efforts? Many of those living with FM are completely resistant to mainstream therapies and treatments, leaving millions of people to live in chronic pain. If this sounds familiar to you, you should speak to your doctor about ketamine infusion therapy to provide relief for your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Not only is ketamine a potentially powerful solution for FM-related symptoms, but it has also been shown to effectively and safely treat depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are interested in exploring ketamine infusion therapy as a potential treatment avenue, visit one of the many medicinal ketamine clinics around the country.