Feeling sleepy, moody, and having memory issues due to muscle pain? You may dismiss it away as seasonal depression or being cooped up inside due to quarantine, but it might indicate something more.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal pain disorder that is widespread throughout the body, including the abdomen, neck, and back. This disorder can cause forgetfulness, lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, and even gastrointestinal issues. Other symptoms include:
- Migraine and headaches
- Interstitial cystitis
- Painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders, ex. Pain in your jaw joint
For women who are pregnant and suffer from fibromyalgia, the trials and tribulations of the pregnancy can be more severe than the average pregnancy. According to Medical News Today: “Pain, fatigue, and stress can be particularly bothersome for women with fibromyalgia during the first and last trimesters of pregnancy. Disruption can also occur if a woman has to adjust her usual treatment for fibromyalgia during the pregnancy.”
The disorder is very common and affects more than 3 million U.S. citizens each year. Research has shown that women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
There isn’t a known cause for why fibromyalgia occurs, but there are some factors that trigger the disorder. One is by being triggered after surgery, an infection, physical trauma, or even incredible mental stress. The second can just happen over time, without a significant event to trigger the disorder.
Additional causes could include:
- Genetics and/or family history
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers have discovered prolong nerve stimulation can cause people with fibromyalgia to have changes in their brains. In essence, there is an increase in chemicals that trigger pain stimulation which in turn seems to create a habit of remembering the pain which makes fibromyalgia that much more painful.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, however, there are various treatments to help relieve the symptoms and pain. This includes:
- Self-care: relaxation, exercise, and stress-reducing activities can help with fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Medication: nonsteroid, anti-inflammatory drugs, nerve pain drugs, and muscle relaxers are just a few of the medications that are prescribed to alleviate fibromyalgia.
- Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and support groups are some of the kinds of therapy which help with the physical and emotional issues from fibromyalgia.
This disorder has an unfortunate misunderstanding among the general population. Fibromyalgia’s symptoms that include lack of sleep, depression, and anxiety along with the pain can be debilitating, but often overlooked or considered “overreacting” by others. If you suspect you have symptoms of fibromyalgia you should talk to your doctor and get on a treatment plan. Additionally, if you suffer from fibromyalgia and have plans on getting pregnant you can contact Mt. Auburn OB-GYN on the best way to navigate your disorder while pregnant.