FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) is a widespread muscle skeletal pain and fatigue disorder. FMS had been initially been known as a female specific disorder. Today more and more men are being diagnosed with FMS than ever. I myself at age forty was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The cause of FMS currently is still unknown. The term fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which is the soft fibrous tissue of the body. The general complaint from FMS sufferers is that they ache all over. Whether you are male or female there are a number of associated symptoms and syndromes associated with FMS:
Ã?Â· Pain – pain in FMS shows no boundaries, it is widespread and chronic. It can migrate to all parts of the body with varying intensities.
Ã?Â· Fatigue – Many people complain of fatigue. Fatigue with FMS is very different. An all-encompassing exhaustion interferes with even the simplest of daily tasks. It can feel like every bit of energy has been drained from your body. Resting does not improve fatigue in patients with FMS.
Ã?Â· Sleep Problems – Many patients have a sleep disorder that prevents them from getting deep, restful and restorative sleep.
Ã?Â· Other Symptoms – Additional symptoms can include irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bladder, headaches and migraines, restless leg syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, anxiety, depression, skin rashes and sensitivity.
How FMS is diagnosed
At this time there are no lab tests to diagnose the existence of fibromyalgia. Doctors have to go by the patient’s history, self-reported symptoms, a physical exam and an accurate manual tender point, sometimes also called trigger point evaluation. Proper implementation of the exam determines the presence of multiple tender points a specific location.
To receive diagnoses of FMS, the patient must meet the following criteria:
Ã?Â· Widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum of three months.
Ã?Â· Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 13 trigger points when pressure is applied.
What causes FMS?
No one knows what causes fibromyalgia. Researchers believe that many different factors, alone or in combination may be involved.
For example, factors such as:
Ã?Â· An infectious illness
Ã?Â· Physical trauma
Ã?Â· Emotional trauma
Ã?Â· Hormonal changes
Ã?Â· Muscle abnormalities
Ã?Â· Neurotransmitter abnormalities
Research has suggested that people with fibromyalgia have abnormal levels of several different chemicals that help transmit and amplify pain signals to and from the brain. Whether this is cause or result of FMS is unknown.
Current treatment options include:
Ã?Â· Medications to diminish pain and improve sleep.
Ã?Â· Exercise programs that stretch muscles and improve cardiovascular (aerobic) fitness.
Ã?Â· Relaxation techniques and other measures to ease muscle tension and anxiety.
Ã?Â· Educational programs to help you understand and manage fibromyalgia.
Men affected by FMS seem to have more self esteem issues than women. No man wants to be considered weak, frail, in pain day and night. This is especially difficult if the man has to go on disability. He then can have the feelings of being useless to his family and embarrassed by his situation. This is not meant to minimize the effects FMS has on women. The key to surviving FMS is to have a good medical support group and family support. This will help you to never give up which is the answer.