Fibromyalgia: What is it? Cause, symptoms and diagnosis

Fibromyalgia  (FM) is also called  soft tissue rheumatism  . It is a chronic disease that is associated with (extreme)  muscle pain  and  fatigue . Mainly women suffer from this syndrome and it usually occurs between 20-60 years.

The number of fibro patients is growing, yet it is not always taken seriously. It is often accompanied by misunderstanding, both in private situations and at work, in public and even among doctors.

What is fibromyalgia?

” Fibromyalgia literally means” pain in connective tissue and muscles “. Fibromyalgia causes pain, stiffness and fatigue, which are chronic. Making people with fibromyalgia exactly complaints is unknown. There is nothing in the body that can explain the condition. Fibromyalgia is therefore very difficult to determine. There are no medicines to cure the condition. However, the complaints can be reduced with painkillers, movement and rest. “-  Thus the answer of the Reumafonds to the question  what is fibromyalgia?

Cause fibromyalgia

What exactly is the cause is unknown, so that there is still no suitable solution that can reduce the symptoms.

There may be factors that play a part in the development of fibromyalgia:

  • Acidification of the body:  When there are many toxins present in the body, this can cause various health problems. For example FM could possibly be caused by acidification. In addition, uric acid in fibro patients would be difficult to remove or neutralize, which could also cause acidification. So it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg story. Fortunately, you can tackle acidification in simple ways.
  • Depression or PTSD:  A link is made between psychological problems / emotional overload and fibromyalgia. This could possibly cause chemical changes in the brain that could be manifested in fibromyalgia. However, it is also reversible here: it is also said that people can become depressed by fibromyalgia because it has so much impact on life.
  • Intestinal Problems / IBS / Leaky Gut:  Intestinal problems can eventually lead to a leaky intestine. This means that the intestinal flora is so thin that all of both good and bad bacteria can enter the intestines and thus into the bloodstream. The consequence of this can be a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia. More about intestinal complaints and fibromyalgia
  • The same characteristics:  What is remarkable is that many fibro patients also have the same characteristics. Think of, among other things, care, perseverance, perfectionism.


Symptoms fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia symptoms are more than just pain and fatigue, it is accompanied by a whole list of both physical and psychological symptoms.

  • Muscle pain all over the body;
  • (Extreme) fatigue;
  • Morning stiffness;
  • Poor night’s sleep / no feeling of sleep;
  • PDS (Irritable bowel syndrome);
  • Headache / migraine;
  • Concentration and memory problems;
  • Mood swings;
  • Power loss;
  • Weather sensitivity;
  • Acidified body;
  • Hyper-mobiel;
  • Quickly exhausted;
  • Depression;
  • Reduced immune system;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Tenderpoints;

Characteristics (personality):

  • HSP;
  • Go-getter;
  • Difficulty saying ‘no’;
  • Think about someone rather than yourself;
  • Perfectionistic;
  • Careful;
  • Sets the bar high for itself;

Extensive article on  fibromyalgia symptoms  + extra explanation  >>

The symptoms in FM are very diverse and the list is very long. Different complaints can occur on both the physical and mental level. However, the symptoms in fibromyalgia are different in almost every fibro patient and not everyone suffers from all symptoms.

What is central is the pain and fatigue, this occurs in everyone with fibromyalgia and is also often in the foreground. What is striking is that almost everyone with this chronic disease has the same characteristics.


Do you recognize yourself in the above symptoms?

Precisely because the complaints are often ‘vague’ and there is no apparent cause of fibro, it is sometimes difficult to find out if you have this type of rheumatism or not. A rheumatologist can make the diagnosis, but unfortunately there is no real solution.

There are various treatments and therapies that can provide (temporary) relief, but the most important thing is that you learn to live with the complaints you have. Often a rehabilitation program is recommended, where you will be given the tools to learn to live with the pain and other complaints.

If you recognize yourself in the symptoms, it is advisable to contact a doctor. It is true that often other things are advised first, such as physiotherapy, before you are actually referred to the rheumatologist.


Diagnosis fibromyalgia

FM is an  exclusion  diagnosis, which means that all possible causes must first be excluded before you are officially diagnosed. In many people this process takes a number of years, with me it took 3 years before I got the diagnosis.

It is often very double when the diagnosis is made. Usually there is a kind of relief that it is not ‘between the ears’, but on the other hand it is often unwise to realize that you are chronically ill. The first period will therefore mainly consist of grief, anger and frustration. This is not strange either, when you are told that you are ill you start thinking about all sorts of things and your life is totally turned upside down. Give yourself the time and space to give everything a place.

  • Signature in the brain:  At the end of December 2015 a message was published stating that FM could possibly be determined by a signature in the brain. Read the whole article here >>
Learning to live with fibromyalgia

Fibro acceptance is certainly not easy; accepting that you are ill is not something you do just like that. This is also a process that requires time. What plays an important role in this is your mind-set. Are you focusing on what you can no longer do, or are you looking for opportunities? Are you looking for the solution outside or inside yourself? All things that play a role in how you experience life with FM; if you dare to look at it in a positive way, it will feel less heavy than if you see everything negative.

However, this is also something you will have to learn and what you do not do from one day to the next, but once it succeeds it will all become a lot more pleasant.

What is important to realize is that your life can be nice when you have a diagnosis. That a ‘label’ does not have to determine whether you can be happy or not, it is of course not nothing when you are told that you have FM, do not misunderstand. But if you want to have a nice, fun and positive life, you are responsible for this yourself. And believe me, even if fibro-patient is possible!

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