Many people may not be aware and know a lot of information about fibromyalgia disease. There are some misconceptions about this condition due to the people’s varying beliefs about it. Sharon Ostalecki, author of “Fibromyalgia: The Complete Guide from Medical Experts and Patients,” defines fibromyalgia as “a chronic pain illness characterized by pervasive musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue, and sleep disturbances in an individual” (Ostalecki, 2007, p. xiii).
Fibromyalgia is often times called the mysterious disorder because when diagnosed, doctors cannot detect and identify the problem or the cause of the certain pain that the person is experiencing (Fibromyalgia Facts, 2001). According to the National Foundation for Fibromyalgia, there are 12 million Americans who are experiencing and suffering from this disease. It is more frequent than women rather than men, and it occurs in people of all ages (cited in Fibromyalgia Facts, 2001).
The main cause of fibromyalgia still remains unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. Factors such as having problem with the immunity system of an individual, physically unfit muscles, insomnia, food allergy, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies, anemia, and hypothyroidism can trigger the onset of this disease. Furthermore, environmental and social factors are also associated with the occurrence of fibromyalgia, such as work environment, school, and family stress or problems which cause a person to suffer (Pakhare, 2007).
Symptoms Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia depend on each affected individual. Early symptoms of fibromyalgia include sinus stuffiness, sleep drooling, swollen glands, difficulty to swallow, stiff neck, toothaches, pain in the groin, and difficulty in climbing stairs will be felt by an individual. In addition, a prevalent symptom of fibromyalgia includes extreme pain on muscles and joints that a person will feel for more than three months.
Parts of the body like the “neck, shoulders, back, hips, and the upper and lower extremities” of an individual are usually affected (Sameul, 2008, n. p. ). Tenderness can be also felt on some specific areas of the body like the joints. In addition, symptoms such as fatigue, severe headache, sleep disturbance, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, allergies, panic attacks, depression, premenstrual syndrome, palpitations, dizziness, impaired coordination, and memory problems may also add to the other symptoms of this disease (Sameul, 2008).
Diagnosis It is difficult to diagnose whether a person has fibromyalgia or none, since many of its symptoms are also common and present in other diseases. There are no diagnostic laboratory tests that can detect fybromyalgia, which makes it all the more difficult to prove and diagnose. Neither blood test nor x-ray can help a person know whether he or she has fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, these two tests can be taken just to make sure that the person is not just experiencing other ailments or disease such as arthritis (Wilbert, 2008).
Diagnosis can only be made through taking the history of a person and undergoing physical tests. Doctors advise that before diagnosing this disease, one should feel a muscle pain than is longer than three months. Specific parts of the body or the tender points should be the affected area such as the neck or the back. If the person feels uneasiness when a doctor applies mild pressure for more than 11 points of the body, then he or she may have fibromyalgia disease (Eustice & Eustice, 2006).