What Most Don’t Realize About Fibromyalgia

What Most Don’t Realize About Fibromyalgia

Around 4 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and the most common symptom they share is widespread pain. Learning to understand and manage your symptoms is crucial to living with fibromyalgia, but it’s often challenging because the condition isn’t well understood. 

Since our specialty at Apex Medical Center is pain management, our providers have the experience and knowledge to help patients with fibromyalgia. If you’ve had providers who have failed to help you in the past, it may come as a surprise to learn that effective treatments are available. 

In this post, we look at a few things most people don’t realize about fibromyalgia and provide some information. When you, your family, and your friends have a better understanding of your condition and your symptoms, you can plan your life in such a way to accommodate your needs. 

1. People all over the world have fibromyalgia

Some people think a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is just “trendy.” Fibromyalgia occurs in populations around the globe. In any given population, between 2% and 4% have it. 

Women are twice as likely as men to have fibromyalgia, and people who have experienced traumatic events have a greater risk of developing it. Although you can get fibromyalgia at any age—even children are sometimes affected—it’s diagnosed most often during middle age, and your risk increases as you age. 

People who have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia as well, and people who have had viral infections have a higher chance of it. A family history of the disease and being obese are also risk factors.

2. Not everyone has the same symptoms

Although doctors consider a list of common symptoms when making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, the fact is that not everyone who has it experiences the same symptoms. Widespread pain throughout your body is the most common symptom, and many patients report that they’ve always had pain. 

In the recent past, doctors used specific tender points on your body, such as in your upper arm or your jaw, to diagnose fibromyalgia. Researchers now know that around 20%, or one in five, people with fibromyalgia don’t experience these tender places. 

Other common symptoms include fatigue, especially when you first wake up, problems sleeping, and cognitive difficulties. Fatigue can happen even if you consistently sleep 8-10 hours per night. 

Poor sleep often involves waking multiple times, especially in the early morning. Some people refer to “fibro fog” or “brain fog” in describing how difficult it is to think quickly. 

3. A combination of treatments helps

Although we wish it were true, there’s not a single pill or treatment approach that works for everyone who has fibromyalgia. Indeed, prescription medications have uneven success, and even if medication provides some relief, some lifestyle interventions will likely be beneficial. 

Aerobic exercise, physical therapy, heat therapy, and specific stretching exercises are some approaches to treating fibromyalgia that work most often. Additionally, learning specific relaxation and stress-reduction techniques can be helpful. 

Talk to a professional 

Our providers know that fibromyalgia patients face many barriers to obtaining adequate care. If you’re dealing with symptoms, schedule an appointment at Apex Medical Center's most convenient location. We’re happy to provide an evaluation and consultation and suggest a treatment plan.

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