Complications of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia symptoms may come and go but in most cases
the disorder does not tend to worsen over time. People who experience the
symptoms learn how to cope with the pain the best they can and avoid triggers
that bring about flare-ups. However, the pain syndrome can disrupt your life
and is often associated with other diseases.
Disability and Lifestyle Disruption
Many fibromyalgia sufferers receive disability benefits
because they are unable to work. This is because symptoms like joint pain
seriously limit mobility. What’s known as “fibro fog” can make it more
difficult for people to focus while on the job.
Even if a patient is able to work, fibromyalgia may reduce productivity. This can lower quality of
life. You may not enjoy doing the things you once did. Walking, shopping,
visiting with friends, and other activities can become more difficult due to
the pain and fatigue of the syndrome.
The pain limits a person’s ability to get around and be
as active as they may have been before. This could result in withdrawing and
losing the benefits of an active social life. Fibromyalgia flare-ups can be
brought on by stress and depression. The isolation can begin a difficult cycle
where the pain causes isolation, which causes even more pain.
There are many health problems known to be more common
in people with fibromyalgia than in the general public. It’s not known if
fibromyalgia causes these diseases, if they cause fibromyalgia, or if there is
some other explanation. However, being aware that they can accompany the pain
syndrome can help patients identify symptoms that could mark the onset of
The following are more common in people with
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- irritable bowel disorder (IBS)
- tension headaches
- endometriosis (a female reproductive
- lupus (an autoimmune disease)
- rheumatoid arthritis
- restless leg syndrome (RLS)
The onset of these other
afflictions sometime comes after the fibromyalgia symptoms. Treating the
initial symptoms may help you
maintain your health and avoid these additional problems.
Activities that will not only
help treat the pain of fibromyalgia, but can improve your overall health
- stress reduction
- adequate sleep
- a healthy diet
- regular moderate exercise
Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from depression.
There are several factors that could play a role in this complication. Some
think the brain chemicals involved in the syndrome are also involved in
triggering depression. If so, this means one will always likely accompany the
other. The isolation and pain that often go with this disorder can no doubt be
depressing. Some doctors still hold the belief that this syndrome isn’t a real
illness and that it’s just a combination of several symptoms brought on by
stress. Being made to feel like the pain is “all in your head” can lead to
Therapy generally helps people cope with this complication.
One-on-one sessions or support groups can help you understand what’s going on
and how your thoughts may affect your health. Such support can also improve
feelings of solitude.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Although sometimes the
pain improves gradually over time, in most cases you simply learn to manage it.
Most patients find the greatest improvement in finding a good symptom management
plan. This could include a combination of medications and alternative
treatments. Therapy can also teach you how to cope with the psychological
effects of this disorder.