Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder which lasts long. It is associated with extensive pain in the bones & muscles, regions of weakness & general fatigue. Such symptoms are assumed subjective, meaning they cannot be measured or determined by tests. Fibromyalgia may be misdiagnosed as another disease as its clear causes are not known. Anyone can get fibromyalgia, although studies have shown that it affects around six times as many females as males. This condition usually develops between the ages of 25 to 55 years, but may also occur in people of any age, including elderly & children. Some reports suggest nearly 2 in 25 people may be affected by fibromyalgia to some extent.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder which is identified by comprehensive musculoskeletal pain accompanied by conditions like sleep, fatigue, mood issues & memory. Many researchers believe that this disorder amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way patient’s brain comprehends pain signals. Symptoms often begin after an infection, physical trauma or psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms eventually grow over time without any triggering event. Many patients suffering from fibromyalgia also have irritable bowel syndrome, tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, depression & anxiety. While there is no specific cure for this disorder, various medicines can help control symptoms. Stress-reduction techniques, exercise & relaxation measures may also be helpful.
Doctors & medical researchers do not know the exact cause of fibromyalgia. However, due to decades of research, medical professionals are close to understanding obvious factors that may work together to cause fibromyalgia. These factors include the following:
- Infections – Previous illnesses may aggravate the condition of fibromyalgia or make its symptoms worse.
- Genetics – This condition often runs in families. When a family member suffers from this condition, the risk for others developing the same become even higher.
- Physical or Emotional Trauma – Patients who experience any kind of emotional or physical trauma may develop fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has been coupled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Excessive Stress – Stress may also create long-reaching effects. Stress may cause hormonal disturbances in patients which could further contribute to fibromyalgia.
Some other risk factors for fibromyalgia include the following:
- Gender – According to some studies, females account for between 75 to 85 percent of all fibromyalgia cases. The reason behind this is still not known.
- Family History – If patients have a family history of fibromyalgia, they can be at higher risk for developing the same.
- Disease – Fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis, but if patients are suffering from rheumatic diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, they may develop fibromyalgia as well.
Fibromyalgia is greatly associated with areas of tenderness, which are known as tender points or trigger points. These are spots of patient’s body where even slight pressure can aggravate pain. However, these points are hardly used to diagnose the condition. When patients experience this pain for more than three months, surgeons may consider this as condition of fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia may also experience the following signs & symptoms.
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleeping for long periods of time without feeling rested
- Difficulty paying attention or inability to focus properly
- Dull aching or pain in lower abdomen
Symptoms may be a result of nerves & brain overreacting or misinterpreting normal pain signals. This can happen due to chemical imbalances in the brain.
Patients suffering from fibromyalgia often see many doctors before being properly diagnosed. Major reason for this may be fatigue & pain, experienced by patients. Therefore, surgeons often must rule out various other potential reasons of these symptoms prior to diagnosing fibromyalgia. Surgeons cannot determine fibromyalgia by lab tests. Surgeons who know of fibromyalgia however, can, make a diagnosis based on the following two criteria.
- Medical History – Medical history of extensive pain lasting more than three months. When pain exists on both the left & right sides of the body as well as below & above the waistline of patients.
- Presence of Tender Points – Patient’s body has eighteen sites which are known to be tender points. For diagnosing fibromyalgia, a patient must have ten or more tender points. Patients feel pain at these sites even with light pressure. Patients who are suffering from fibromyalgia may also feel pain at other locations but these eighteen spots on the body are mainly used for diagnosis.
Surgeons may diagnose fibromyalgia if patients experience harsh pain & tenderness in more than 10 of the known 18 trigger points. Surgeons would check to see the number of trigger points which were painful by firmly pressing on them. Most common trigger points include the following.
- Upper chest
- Back of the head
- Top of the shoulder
- Outer elbows
These trigger points are not necessarily the focus of the diagnostic process for fibromyalgia. Instead, surgeons may make diagnosis in case patients report pain for more than two or three months & have no diagnosable health condition that can explain the reason of pain.
Going to orthopedic surgeons can be intimidating. Patients might feel pressured & forget to ask doubts that are important. Some of the following questions may be worth asking in order to completely understand the treatment procedure. Patients may take the following list of questions with them to the initial appointment.
- What is fibromyalgia?
- What factors are responsible for this condition?
- Are there any medicines which can be helpful for my condition?
- Could physical therapy or exercise be helpful?
- What is scientifically proven about this condition?
- What can I do to improve my health?
- Can I make any changes in my environment?
- Are there any effective alternative options for fibromyalgia?
- Should I still take my medicines even if I feel fine?
- Can I control this condition of fibromyalgia without taking any medications?
- How much physically active can I be if I am suffering from fibromyalgia?
- What is the long-term effect of fibromyalgia on overall health?
- Does this condition of fibromyalgia ever go away?
- How can I get completely cured?
- Can I live a normal life after my treatment?
Aim of fibromyalgia treatment is to manage harsh pain & boost patient’s quality of life. This can be achieved through a two-pronged approach of medication & self-care. Most common medications for treating fibromyalgia include the following.
- Pain Relievers – Surgeons may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Prescription versions, such as Ultram (tramadol), can also be used in some extreme cases. They are used sparingly to reduce chances of side-effects & dependence.
- Antidepressants – Antidepressants, such as milnacipran (Savella) or duloxetine (Cymbalta) are often used to treat depression or anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. These medications may also help enhance patient’s quality of sleep.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs – Neurontin or Gabapentin are fundamentally designed to treat the condition of epilepsy, but it may aid in reducing symptoms among patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
In addition to medicines, a self-care program can help patients cope with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Healthy lifestyle changes & other remedies for fibromyalgia may help in diminishing pain while making the patient feel better. Primarily these treatments focus on lowering patient’s stress & minimizing pain. It is important to understand that most of these alternative methods for treating fibromyalgia have not been studied thoroughly. Latest researches also fail to support their effectiveness. Various reports of success with alternative treatments are unreliable. These treatments include the following.
- Physical Therapy
- Regular Exercise
- Getting Proper Sleep at Night
- Healthy & Balanced Diet
- Massage Therapy
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy can potentially minimize stress which is triggering symptoms & depression associated with fibromyalgia. Group therapy is certainly the most cost-effective option & it also gives patients an opportunity to meet other patients who are suffering from similar problems. If patients prefer personalized or one-on-one help, Individual therapy is also available. Patients should ask surgeons for specific recommendations.
- Dietary Recommendations – No dedicated diet plans have yet been identified for patients with fibromyalgia. Some patients report that they felt good by following a certain diet or by avoiding some foods, but research does not have proof & it even does not support it. When patients have been diagnosed with this disorder, they should try to eat a well-balanced & healthy diet overall. Appropriate nutrition can help patient’s body stay in good condition & deliver constant supply of energy. When patient’s diet is not balanced & they are not having food properly, these symptoms may worsen. Some simple yet effective dietary strategies for patients to keep in mind are listed below.
- Eat vegetables & fruits
- Eat more green vegetables than meat
- Drink plenty of water
- Minimize sugar intake
- Exercising regularly
- Maintain healthy weight or lose some weight
Patients may observe that certain foods make symptoms worse, or that they feel worse frequently after having certain category of food. When this is the case, it will be a good idea for patients to make a list of foods & they can track what they are eating & how they feel after finishing the meal. Patients can subsequently present this food diary to respective surgeons. Surgeons can help in identifying foods that enhance patient’s symptoms. Avoiding these troublesome foods may prove to be beneficial. However, research has not yet identified such categories of foods which result in boosting the condition of fibromyalgia.
Treatments do not assure complete cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, these treatments focus on minimizing patient’s symptoms & enhancing the quality of life. This is generally accomplished through use of essential medicines, self-care programs & healthy lifestyle changes. In addition to this, patients should maintain follow-up sessions for constant guidance & support. Patients may opt for therapy classes which can be helpful in releasing stress.
Medical Tourism for Best Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Nowadays, it is a global trend among international patients to seek affordable healthcare services in medical tourism destinations across the world. There are many countries which have sensed opportunity & actively promoted growth & development of their healthcare sector. They have even eased laws to allow convenient medical visas to international patients so that they can comfortably travel in & out of the country without difficulty. While the internet has provided convenient access to information & communication, low-cost airfare has provided a boost to global hopping & which is an essential requirement of medical tourism.
Affordable Fibromyalgia Treatment with Travcure Medical Tourism
Travcure Medical Tourism is a globally renowned medical tourism company providing a wide spectrum of affordable medical procedures to international patients. Associated with the best doctors including orthopedic surgeons & neurosurgeons in countries like Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), South Korea (Seoul) & India, they are ideally placed to deliver the most beneficial outcomes for international patients seeking fibromyalgia treatments without any waiting period. Travcure is connected to an extensive healthcare network of internationally accredited hospitals & provisions to ensure that every patient from abroad gets the most advanced & efficient medical treatment possible. In addition to this, Travcure also provides additional recuperation packages to international patients for rejuvenating their mind & body following treatment procedures.
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