Understanding fibromyalgia

Article By: Lydia Atieno

Tiredness, fatigue, and generally feeling like you have no energy are also some signs that one might be suffering from fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting the bones and muscles, and a long-term condition that causes pain and tenderness all over the body.

The condition is believed to most commonly develop between the ages of 25 and 55, although children can also get it, and that it appears that more women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men.

Unlike arthritis, Janvier Rusizana, a general practitioner at La Nouvell Clinic, Kigali notes that this isn’t because one has issues with their joints, bones, or muscles.

He says it’s rather thought to be caused by the nervous system in the brain and spine not being able to control or process pain signals from other parts of the body.

Besides, the condition has also been linked to poor sleep, extreme and constant tiredness that doesn’t improve with sleep or rest (fatigue) among others.

Rusizana says that in most cases, one can tell if they are suffering from this condition when they experience pain which he says tends to spread throughout the entire body, with certain parts – such as neck and back, feeling particularly painful than other parts.

Also, with the condition, one can easily tell if they are having a bad night's sleep. This, he says, includes waking up feeling unrested, aching, and stiffness, which often feels worse during or after one has been active.

Tiredness, fatigue, and generally feeling like you have no energy are also some signs that one might be suffering from fibromyalgia.

In some cases, fibromyalgia can also cause: forgetfulness or poor concentration, stress, worry, or low mood.

Tingling, numbness, or swelling of your hands and feet, as well as headaches.

Causes and treatment

According to numerous statistics, there is a common link between several factors such as arthritis, a traumatic event, and mental health and well-being.

It’s also known that fibromyalgia increases the sensitivity of nerve endings, caused by problems with a person’s central nervous system – which controls all the sensations and movements the body makes.

Studies have shown that parts of the brain that register pain react differently if you have fibromyalgia. This means one feels pain when other people just feel uncomfortable or stiff.

People with fibromyalgia often don’t get enough deep sleep. Research shows that lack of good quality sleep can make the pain worse, and maybe even cause pain.

When it comes to the treatment, Rusizana says there's no cure for fibromyalgia through a combination of medication, exercise, managing stress, and healthy habits that may ease symptoms.

What you should know

Health experts note that because fibromyalgia’s symptoms vary from person to person, it’s difficult to predict how long one will have the condition and the impact it will have on your life.

Also, it’s essential to understand that fibromyalgia doesn’t seem to cause long-term damage to the body, but it’s important to keep your muscles and joints strong through activity.

Meanwhile, it has been established that physical and psychological therapies can also often be a more effective way of managing fibromyalgia than medication.


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