Living with Fibro

Fibromyalgia Joint Pains are often confused with Arthritis

Fibromyalgia Joint Pains are often confused with Arthritis

The joint pain caused by fibromyalgia is often confused with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) since it also has similar symptoms

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculoskeletal condition which includes widespread muscle and joint pain.

The joint pain caused by fibromyalgia is often confused with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) since it also has similar symptoms. A joint is a junction where two bones meet.

Most joints are composed of cartilage, joint space, fibrous capsule, synovium, and ligaments. Joints help in providing support and also help you move around.

Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.

In Rheumatoid Arthritis joint inflammation is one of the key symptoms however in fibromyalgia there can be pain in the joints and muscles but may not be caused by inflammation.

Therefore, fibromyalgia does not damage your joints the way that arthritis can. It also doesn’t seem to damage the muscles or other soft tissues.

Causes

Researchers, as well as doctors still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. Some of the causes attributed to fibromyalgia may include:

Genetics

This is because fibromyalgia tends to run in families and there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.

Infections

There are some illnesses which seem to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.

Physical or emotional trauma

It is also believed that Post-traumatic stress disorder would lead to developing fibromyalgia. Researchers also believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change creates an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters).

Treatment for Fibromyalgia joint pains

A cure for fibromyalgia is not yet known. But there are various options that can make a difference in your quality of life, including lifestyle changes and medication.

While fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues.

Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities.

Also like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition, a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.

There are many physicians, general internists, or rheumatologists (doctors who specialize in arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints or soft tissues) who can treat fibromyalgia.

One should even try pain clinics that specialize in pain and rheumatology clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including fibromyalgia.

As of today, there are only three medications, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. These are duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin.

 Duloxetine was originally developed for and is still used to treat depression.

Milnacipran is similar to a drug used to treat depression but is FDA approved only for fibromyalgia.

Pregaballin is a medication developed to treat neuropathic pain (chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system).

Is fibromyalgia treated with time?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, which means that it will lasts a long time, even a lifetime. However, it may be comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease and it is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.

What can fibromyalgia do to you?

The pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety.

Are there any other options apart from medications?

Apart from taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, there are also a lot of things you can do to minimize the impact of fibromyalgia on your life.

Getting a good night sleep 

A person should get the right kind and enough sleep to help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. There are many people with fibromyalgia who have problems sleeping due to pain, restless legs syndrome, or brainwave irregularities.

It is therefore important to discuss any sleep problems with your doctor, who can prescribe or recommend treatment for them.

Gentle Exercising

Even though pain and fatigue may make exercising and daily activities pretty difficult, it is important to be as physically active whenever possible. Studies have shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia.

It is also important to note that people who have too much pain or fatigue and do vigorous exercise should begin with walking or other gentle exercise and build their endurance and intensity slowly.

Changing you working environment

People with fibromyalgia tends to work even after they are diagnosed. This should change or they should make changes to it.

There are various ways to do so. One can simply cut down the number of hours they work, switch to a less demanding job, or adapt a current job.

You may want to request your employer to make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job if you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files.

It is also recommended that an occupational therapist help you design a more comfortable workstation or find more efficient and less painful ways to lift.

Eating healthy is always better 

There hasn’t been any study carried out for a specific diet for people with fibromyalgia but people have reported feeling better when they tend to eat or avoid certain foods.

Whatever said and done, it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet wherein a proper nutrition gives you more energy and make you generally feel better. It will also help you avoid other health problems.

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Living with Fibro

1 Comment

  • It is really comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not fatal, does not damage tissues and does not progress overtime. Its just a matter of proper treatment and management and one can still have a comfortable life despite the disease.

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