Read these 19 Diagnosing Fibromyalgia Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Fibromyalgia tips and hundreds of other topics.
While most people can point to some significant trauma that triggered the onset of severe fibromyalgia symptoms, some people cannot trace things back to any specific occurrence. This isn't unusual, as sometimes the problem is triggered by prolonged stress instead of an acute episode of some kind. Being able to point to a specific trigger can be helpful psychologically, as it may explain to you why you found yourself suddenly suffering from pain and fatigue – but not finding a trigger does not mean that you don't really have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a relatively recent term for a common rheumatic disease that was previouly called soft tissue rheumatisem, fibrositis, or nonarticular rheumatism. Some statistics claim 3 to 6 million Americans are affected. Women may be affected four times more often than men. Fibromyalgia attacks the soft tissue- the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Fibromyalgia is pain all over your body with a positive painful announcement on up to 18 specific points used to help diagnose the condition. It can mimic many other medical problems – everything from allergies to chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis and more. Your doctor should not only check to see that you have the tender points that are the one indisputable hallmark of fibromyalgia, but also do blood tests to eliminate other possibilities.
MSM, organic sulfur, cannot cure this major painful condition. But MSM is an excellent source of safe and substantial relief. This great benefit comes from MSM's pain reducing, anti-inflammatory, and increased blood-supply properties.
A trigger point is, by official definition, "a hyper-irritable spot, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscles fascia. The spot is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, tenderness and autonomic phenomena." Fibro patients have many trigger points, which may feel like rope-like bands of muscles nearly visible under the skin.
There are no definitive laboratory tests for fibromyalgia as of now. Your doctor should take blood tests – but only to eliminate other possible causes for the symptoms that you are experiencing. Having eliminated other possibilities, the doctor then looks to see if you have experienced widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months, and displays many of the other common symptoms of FMS, including at least 11 painful tender points. Fibroymalgia is related to arthritis which means it includes inflammation of the muscle. Soft tissue inflammation responds well to minerals which inprove blood flow. MSM, organic sulfur, is one of the products which helps improve blood flow. We do not get enough organic sulfur in our diet because when we heat foods, the MSM is cooked off as steam.
It might look like fibro and feel like fibro - it may even be listed as a typical fibro symptom - but it might be something other than fibro. Maybe even something that can be treated and fixed. If you suddenly notice new symptoms that you haven't experienced before, report it to your doctor. It's all too easy to blame everything on fibro when it isn't.
Suggest to your doctor that you have been reading a lot about fibromyalgia and wonder if that might be the problem. Support your “diagnosis” by bringing him a checklist of fibro symptoms and showing how many of those you are suffering from. If he or she dismisses you – or tries to dismiss fibro as something unreal, you need a new doctor. But if yours is willing to listen and to be educated – even to admit that he or she doesn't know much about fibromyalgia then you've got yourself a winner.
Some studies have showed that fibro patients are deficient in Serotonin and Norepinephrine, and Substance P. These neurotransmission regulators affect the functioning of our heart, lungs and other vital organs and exacerbate the symptoms of fibro. Many of us seem to have been born with a predisposition to develop fibro, which lies latent until some trauma or stressful situation triggers the symptoms and they emerge full-blown.
Before seeing a new doctor, gather the following information - Bring a list of all of the symptoms that you have noted in yourself. Don't just rely on memory – consult your books. Make a list of everything you have tried to relieve the symptoms, and which worked. Bring a list of all medications you are on whether or not they relate to your fibro symptoms, as well as a family medical history.
Check with the Fibromyalgia Network – a good organization to belong to anyway – and they will send you a list of doctors in your area recommended by other people with fibro. You may also have a physician's reference organization in your area. Call them. While you are on the line, ask for references for a rheumatologist or a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist.
What causes fibromyalgia? No one really seems to know. We do know what triggers it – stress, a viral or bacterial infection, traumas such as a death in the family or an automobile accident. Why these events trigger fibro in some people but not in others is not yet fully understood. One theory is that we are genetically predisposed to develop it, because of some other physical abnormality.
Many doctors simply refuse to believe that fibromyalgia exists, or instead use it as a catchall term for anyone with aches and pains that he or she is unable to diagnose. If you have been tested by your doctor, and haven't got a diagnosis yet, or if your doctor blames your symptoms on depression, you may have one of the disbelievers. Try another doctor – preferably a rheumatologist – to get a genuine diagnosis.
Ask your doctors about trigger points, if you want to see how much they actually know about fibromyalgia. If they act confused, or if they start talking about sore points in your joints or muscles, then they don't really know the specifics of fibro. However, if they are willing to learn, point them to some good books on the subject. If they know what a trigger point is and have passed the first test, you may very well have yourself a good doctor.
Fibromyalgia has so many symptoms that it's all too easy to blame every new thing we find wrong on it. Don't. It's all too easy to overlook signs of other, treatable diseases until they become severe enough to create real problems. Check with others who have fibro – join a support group or find a good online discussion. If most people don't experience that symptom they way you do, see a doctor. Even fibromites get other illnesses.
Remember that your doctor has hundreds of medical conditions to keep current about. You have your fibro. Take charge of your illness by keeping informed about it, reading up on it and becoming acquainted with not only the symptoms but also new developments and research. That's the best way to help your doctor to help you.
If you plan on applying for any form of disability insurance, then you should ask your family doctor for a referral to a board certified rheumatologist for an official diagnosis. While any doctor is capable of making the diagnosis, many disability insurance companies insist on a rheumatologist's official diagnosis before they will honor a claim.
There may not be a cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments that will allow us to function, if not normally at least enough that we don't feel useless and handicapped. Doctors who think of fibro as a "wastebasket" diagnosis tend to dismiss most of your symptoms as being psychosomatic, and may not be willing to prescribe anything other than aspirin.
Scientists are investigating the theory that the malfunctioning of our immune systems causes Fibro pains. Fibro, specifically, is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. If you spend most of your days feeling like you've got the flu, with aches everywhere and a total lack of energy, then you are a good candidate for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, especially if your symptoms began after some sort of trauma - an accident, surgery, a death, etc. But the pain must have persisted for at least three months.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|