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With aging, we all face the risk of experiencing a variety of muscle and bone issues. Even with some of the best lifestyle and diet choices, we still experience pain and discomfort, including fibromyalgia, a musculoskeletal condition that is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia affects the central nervous system. It is characterized by widespread pain and intense fatigue. Unfortunately, the causes and nature of fibromyalgia are still widely unknown, making the disease difficult to diagnose and treat. You may be considered to experience fibromyalgia if you experience long term pain in all four quadrants of your body.

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors of fibromyalgia are still unknown. While many medical professionals and scientists have theories, there are more studies needed to fully understand fibromyalgia. However, about twelve million Americans suffer from the disease, most of which are women ranging in ages from 25 to 60 years old. In fact, women are ten times more likely to develop the condition than men.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

There are several symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia. Widespread pain is associated with the condition, but the pain is not specific to the joints, like with arthritis. Instead, any place on the body can be a tender point that is painful to the touch. Muscles can consistently feel pulled and overworked, and areas such as the neck, shoulders, back, and hips can exhibit pain and achiness. Additionally, swelling and disturbances in sleep and mood can occur. Many individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia develop depression. Other symptoms can include chronic headaches, numbness in the feet and hands, dryness in the mouth, nose, and eyes, hypersensitivity to cold and heat, incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, and an inability to concentrate.

How is fibromyalgia treated?

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia. However, some treatments can suppress some of the condition’s symptoms, such as relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, along with therapeutic massage and aerobics. Certain injections and other minimally invasive pain techniques can also provide long term pain relief.

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