How To Identify and Treat Your Fibromyalgia Tender Points
Fibromyalgia has been steadily gaining mainstream attention as more and more people are being diagnosed with the relatively new medical condition. However, the finer details of fibromyalgia still remain unknown to most people. While it is generally known that fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread chronic pain, heightened sensitivity to pressure and other related symptoms such as increased tiredness and joint stiffness, not everybody knows the exact fibromyalgia tender points to look for when seeking diagnosis or treatment.
Fibromyalgia diagnosis is difficult due to its symptoms being both different from person to person and often being difficult for the patient to describe as anything other than “pain all over.” To properly diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors check to see if the following points on the body are painful to the touch:
- Back of the neck
- Front of the neck
- Lower back
- Upper back
It is important to note that each of these individual fibromyalgia points may experience pain for any number of other reasons, but it is when most of them are in constant simultaneous pain without prior injury that fibromyalgia it is likely the cause.
In addition to chronic pain in the above listed areas, people who have fibromyalgia may experience intense fatigue to the point that they are unable to meet the demands of a full time job, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep through the night and stiffness in their joints. It is also possible for people with fibromyalgia to experience bowel and bladder irregularities, difficulty swallowing, numb muscles and confusion, though these particular symptoms are less frequently reported.
Fibromyalgia is currently considered a medically unexplained syndrome, meaning that there is no treatment or cure that works for everyone afflicted. Also, for the most part, fibromyalgia relief is more concerned with managing or lessening the symptoms associated with it than treating the condition itself. It is important to understand that what works for one person afflicted with fibromyalgia, even if their symptoms are identical to yours, may not also work for you.
Government health organizations around the world including the FDA have approved some medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, opioids and even some muscle relaxants are among the types of medications currently believed to possibly help treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, for people who may not have access to these medications, exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy have also been shown to help decrease the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. For the best results, it is often recommended to use a combination of medication, exercise and therapy in conjunction with behavioral adjustment such as reducing work to part-time and reducing the frequency of excessively painful activities.
Though there is no universal cure at this time and the symptoms may seem too large to overcome, fibromyalgia research is growing and learning new things every day. With help from doctors, loved ones and a healthy outlook, most people can continue to lead exciting and happy lives despite their fibromyalgia.