As you would probably know, fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome; chronic meaning that the syndrome is long-lasting, normally a lifelong illness. Fibromyalgia does not do damage to joints or cause inflammation, although it is considered an arthritis related condition. In fact, Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic condition for it causes pain in soft tissue and joints.
To be clear, although there are many theories, a consensus about any one specific cause of Fibromyalgia does not exist. Researchers and physicians believe that a combination of factors working in concert play a role in the existence of Fibromyalgia.
The 5 Common Risk Factors
Contributing factors may include:
• Central nervous systems issues
• Repetitive injuries
• Rheumatoid arthritis and/or Lupus
• Traumatic physical or psychological episode (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Family history can make one more vulnerable to developing the syndrome.
Besides the above causes, other risk factors include gender—women are ten times more likely to develop the syndrome—and age—Fibromyalgia is more commonly diagnosed between 20 and 50 years old. Furthermore, sleep disorders have been seen as both a symptom and a possible cause of Fibromyalgia. Patients who suffer from sleep disorders as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea have increased risk of having Fibromyalgia.
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
A Fibromyalgia patient is likely to have visited their physician countless times before the correct diagnosis is made, because many of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia are comparable to those seen in other conditions. Before a proper diagnosis can be made, all other illnesses and conditions must be ruled out.
To make matters more frustrating, there are no specific diagnostic laboratory tests that definitively prove the existence of Fibromyalgia. As a result, many unexperienced and/or stubborn physicians still believe that the pain is all the patient’s head.
For a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, a patient must present two specific criteria; widespread pain and the presence of tender points. For pain to be considered widespread, it needs to affect the four quadrants of the patient’s body; left, right, top, and bottom. As for the tender points, they are located in 18 parts of the body. At least 11 of them need to be tender to the touch in order for a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to be made.