Regular visits to your doctor for checkups and eating a well-balanced diet are key elements to living a healthy life. Unfortunately, certain medical conditions that can affect your physical and emotional health may still develop. Since an estimated 3 to 6 million Americans suffer with fibromyalgia, proper understanding of this musculoskeletal condition is essential. If you were recently diagnosed with this painful condition, use this guide to better understand the signs and treatment options for fibromyalgia.

Specific Cause of Fibromyalgia Is Unknown

You will most likely want to know how your fibromyalgia developed. While surprising, determining the cause of the condition is difficult.

Most doctors believe there is no specific cause of fibromyalgia. However, the condition has been linked to patients who were recently injured. In addition, fibromyalgia may occur after an infection or illness. Your risk of developing fibromyalgia is higher if you currently suffer with arthritis or lupus. Plus, if a family member has fibromyalgia, you may also develop the disorder.

Pain Is Not the Only Symptom

Many people believe that the condition is "all in the head," but that is not the case, since fibromyalgia causes physical and emotional symptoms that are very real.

Fibromyalgia causes inflammation in the muscles, ligaments, and joints, which leads to tenderness, soreness, and intense pain. Of course, pain can reduce your quality of life, since it decreases your ability to sleep and affects your emotional wellness. While pain is the most common symptom, fibromyalgia may also cause the following:

  • Muscle and Joint Stiffness
  • Numbness in Hands and Feet
  • Tingling in Hands and Feet
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Temperatures
  • Sensitivity to Bright Lights and Loud Sounds
  • Memory Lapses
  • Concentration Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Severe Menstrual Cramps
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It Can Affect Anyone

Fibromyalgia is most common in women, but it can also affect men and children. Of all the individuals diagnosed with the condition, 80 to 90 percent are women.

Individuals may experience symptoms early in life, but the condition is not usually diagnosed until their middle-aged years.

Treatment Is Imperative

Living with the pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia can be physically overwhelming, but it can also affect your emotional well-being. After a diagnosis, you should consult your doctor about options to reduce inflammation and manage your pain. However, treating the emotional effects of fibromyalgia is also important.

Recent studies have shown that patients living with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain disorders have a higher risk of suicide. This increased risk of suicide is due to pain that can be unbearable, but also to the conditions that lead to anxiety and depression.

If your fibromyalgia pain is causing depression and thoughts of suicide, discuss your feelings with a friend, family member, or doctor immediately.

Treatment Is Possible

Living with an dmanaging fibromyalgia can be difficult, but it is possible with the help of physical therapists, pain management specialists, and doctors who have experience in this disorder.

In most cases, reducing the inflammation will require taking one or more prescription medications. Neuropathic medications can reduce numbness, tingling, and nerve pain that may occur in patients with fibromyalgia. Also, anti-depressants may also be necessary to ease any emotional distress.

Reducing the pain of fibromyalgia in a more holistic manner is also an option to consider. Although challenging for some patients, exercising more each day can reduce pain. Swimming, yoga, and light walking are non-impact exercises that do not place much stress on your muscles and joints. Exercise is proven to increase your body's production of endorphins, which will make you feel physically and emotionally good.

Vitamin D is also important, since it is capable of reducing bone and muscle pain. Taking a vitamin D supplement is smart. Or, head outside to be in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes, at least 3 times a week, for extra vitamin D.

Fibromyalgia is a serious condition that can wreak havoc on your life. With this guide and the help of your doctors, you can understand and manage the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia. Contact a clinic like Pain Relief Center for more information.