What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic and potentially life-altering condition that causes pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. Usually, the pain “waxes and wanes” throughout the day, worsens with physical activity, and persists despite the use of treatments that are effective for other types of pain.
When diagnosing fibromyalgia, a physician will usually evaluate a number of factors, including a patient’s level of fatigue, tenderness, loss of functionality, and overall well-being. For instance, some common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain – Many patients describe their pain as deep, sharp, dull, throbbing or aching.
- Specific tender points – In addition to general body aches, fibromyalgia can cause localized areas of superficial tenderness, particularly around the joints, which are painful to touch.
- Overwhelming fatigue – Some people who have fibromyalgia are unable to sleep well, while others who get plenty of rest often report feeling as if they were “hit by a Mack truck” upon waking. This level of exhaustion is comparable to that commonly associated with the flu.
- Morning stiffness – Most people feel a bit stiff when they wake up in the morning, but individuals who have fibromyalgia experience this effect with great intensity (similar to that associated with rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis).
- Neurological sensations – Some patients experience numbness, tingling, or burning (paresthesia) in their arms, hands, and legs. Although these symptoms are usually not limiting, they can be bothersome, particularly in the morning when they are often more intense.
- Depression – The stress of living with chronic pain and fatigue can cause a person to become less active and more withdrawn, possibly leading to depression.
Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, many patients are able to manage their symptoms effectively and find relief with medications, stress management, and lifestyle changes.
If you have questions about fibromyalgia, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.