Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes, “widespread pain—muscle and joint pain and fatigue.” It’s a serious, painful condition that can cause the sufferer to struggle with everyday tasks, often leading to sadness or unhappiness, as many chronic pain illnesses do.
Whether or not fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease or not is subject of frequent debate. An autoimmune disease is a disease where, “your immune system mistakenly attacks your body, which is why some experts believe that it should be classified as an autoimmune disease.
While some fibromyalgia symptoms can also be found in many autoimmune diseases, not all the symptoms overlap, which is why there is still debate. The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, which is another reason why some experts are hesitant to classify it as an autoimmune disease.
There are a wide variety of symptoms of fibromyalgia, including:
- Sleep issues
- Joint pain
- Widespread pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sensitivity to pressure and pain
- Facial/jaw pain and/or temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
There are many other symptoms that may occur alongside these symptoms, though it’s unclear whether fibromyalgia is causing these symptoms or if they’re simply a reaction to other symptoms.
It’s also possible that other autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), play a role in exacerbating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by inflammation—chronic inflammation may make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse.
Is There a Cure for Fibromyalgia? What Treatment Is Available?
Unfortunately for people with fibromyalgia, there is no cure—however, it is possible to treat fibromyalgia symptoms. Pain management is the main treatment for fibromyalgia, which can have a variety of levels of success.
In terms of treatment, there are a variety of options available to you. These include:
- NSAIDs, like ibuprofen
- Anti-seizure medications
Opioid medications are generally not recommended because of the risk of dependence and their ability to cause the patient to become more sensitive to pain over time.
Because one of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia is sleep issues, including insomnia and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, sleep medication may also be prescribed by your doctor.
Research suggests that more should be done to deal with the sleep issues that patients with fibromyalgia experience because they can cause other symptoms or disorders, like depression, a symptom common in many chronic pain sufferers.
To help treat these secondary symptoms (symptoms that are caused by the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia, like chronic pain), other medications may be prescribed. Additionally, there are actions you can take to help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia.
It’s long been known that depression symptoms can sometimes be alleviated through exercise, but recent research has also shown that it can help directly with the pain caused by fibromyalgia. One recent study found that exercise was the most effective method of reducing the pain caused by fibromyalgia.
Non-traditional treatment methods may also help treat fibromyalgia. While some patients report that acupuncture can help to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, research shows that a similar practice known as dry needling may help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Ultimately, treatment depends on what you and your doctor decide is best for you. Always work with a physician to treat your symptoms and to come up with a treatment plan specific to you.
Learn More About Clinical Studies in Boston for Fibromyalgia
Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? You may qualify for a clinical study on fibromyalgia.