What is Fibromyalgia?
When you break up the word, each part reveals a clue to the definition of the illness. “Fibro” means fibrous tissue in Latin. “Myo” and “Algia” are Greek for muscle and pain, respectively. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain and can be very debilitating. It is often accompanied with chronic fatigue and can impair the ability to carry out day to day tasks. It is estimated to affect 2-3% of Canadians, and diagnosed more commonly in middle aged women.
Fibromyalgia is considered rheumatic (in that it affects joints and muscle tissue), but it does not cause inflammation or damage to those areas like arthritis can. Despite mainly being characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, other symptoms include cognitive and memory problems (known as “Fibro Fog”), sleep disturbances, headaches, IBS, and temperature sensitivity, to name a few.
The cause of the condition is currently unknown, but there is evidence to suggest that traumatic events, genetics, injuries, and viral infections can trigger the illness. It is not uncommon for a person to have Fibromyalgia in addition to other chronic pain conditions, especially in addition to other rheumatic ones.
It can be very tricky to diagnose Fibromyalgia, as many of the symptoms overlap with other conditions. Doctors must rule out a plethora of other things before they can procure the proper diagnosis. Conjointly, there are no standardized diagnostic lab tests as of yet, furthering the difficulty of reaching verdict. Basic lab tests reveal no physiological reason for pain, which unfortunately can lead doctors to conclude the pain is not real.
Treating Fibromyalgia can be a challenge. Often, a person will develop a health care team and take on a more holistic approach by utilizing alternative medicine, medication, exercise, and physical therapy as treatment. Many with Fibromyalgia find alternative medicine very useful in helping ease pain, fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms of the condition.
Several practitioners at Living Science Wellness Centre may be a consideration for a health care team when dealing with Fibromyalgia. Bruce Bonner MASc, RNCP for your nutrition, Dr. Amelia Croll ND, and David Munro for Acupuncture and Physiotherapy.