Do you suffer from chronic aches and pains? Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Do you wish to know more about this disease? Read on to educate yourself more about this surprisingly common and frequently misunderstood condition.
What exactly is fibromyalgia?
The Mayo Clinic defines it as “a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues”. The clinical diagnosis used to involve testing 18 tender points in the body, and if more than 11 were painful, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia was determined. Doctors now use a Widespread Pain Index (WPI) to determine the diagnostic criteria.
So what does that mean for you?
A diagnosis of fibromyalgia is essentially your doctor telling you: “You have chronic pain and we don’t know why”. There are some differing theories about what causes fibromyalgia, but no definitive cause has been found. About ⅓ of sufferers have had previous trauma, ⅓ viral infection, and ⅓ have no obvious history.
Does that mean that the pain is all in your head?
That’s a bit of a loaded question since ALL pain is in your head. That’s the definition of pain, your brain’s interpretation of a painful experience. Just because the pain is in your head does not mean it’s in your imagination though. It is as real and as present as any other pain, even if the cause is not obvious to outside observers.
Is there anything that can be done about it?
Yes, and no. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but treatment and management can be quite effective. Because fibromyalgia affects the whole body, whole-body therapies like osteopathy can give a lot of benefits to fibromyalgia sufferers. Particularly in downregulating the nervous system (calming pain nerves), and treating common issues associated with fibromyalgia-like migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.
While fibromyalgia can be debilitating, there is hope for improvement. Hopefully you’ve learned some useful information, but if you’d like an in depth analysis of your condition, click HERE to book an appointment with one of our professionals or give us a call at 905-457-7475, and let us help you.
We are here to help
Robert Kappes, Registered Physiotherapist
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- Blog Post written by Paul McCrimmon (Osteopath)