Fibromyalgia is an inflammatory health condition that causes misery to many thousands of people in the UK. Although it is not a life-threatening disease, it is a chronic condition that can cause widespread pain all over the body.

Unlike arthritis, which can affect just the joints of the body, fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal health condition that affects your whole body. Because your brain may process pain signals differently, it can mean that the pain felt can be more intense. Fibromyalgia can also affect you in non-physical ways, such as poor sleep quality, low mood and memory issues.

People living with fibromyalgia can have what are known as ‘tender points.’ These are points on the body that feel tender or sore when pressed. Tender points can usually be found in your neck, back, knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip, which can cause significant discomfort and make it difficult to find a comfortable position for sleep.

Fibromyalgia referred pain

As well as tender points on the body, people with fibromyalgia may also have trigger points, which are specific areas on muscles surrounding bones that painful when pressed. These trigger points can produce pain and tenderness in other parts of your body that are not directly related. This is called referred pain.

The onset of fibromyalgia symptoms can happen suddenly following a stressful event, such as an infection, physical injury, a surgical procedure or even a period of extreme life stress, pressure and anxiety.

Symptoms can also start with being low-intensity and can build up in strength over time for no reason whatsoever.

Fibromyalgia symptoms tend to be pain and tenderness throughout the body but can also include pain that:

  • Commonly occurs in the neck, upper back, shoulders, chest, rib cage, lower back, and thighs
  • Could seem worse when you try to relax and is less noticeable during activity
  • It may feel like a burning, gnawing, throbbing, stabbing, or aching
  • It might come on gradually
  • Ranges from mild discomfort to severe enough to limit daily activities

As well as physical muscle and joint aches and pains, fibromyalgia symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fibro brain fog: trouble with focus and concentration
  • Headaches
  • Ill feelings like having constant flu symptoms
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Memory lapses
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

Fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment

If you have been feeling unwell for a long time and your symptoms match many of those mentioned above, it makes sense to seek help from a medical professional. However, while most people will automatically see their GP, it can take many weeks or even months to get a referral on the NHS to see a rheumatologist for a proper diagnosis.

Fibromyalgia symptoms can be the same or similar to many other inflammatory diseases, so you will want to consult a specialist rheumatologist to get any other causes for your symptoms ruled out. Booking a private consultation with Dr Bhadauria will be the fastest and most efficient way of getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or uncovering the actual cause of your painful symptoms.

Dr Bhadauria is a fibromyalgia specialist in London and offers private consultations from his London-based practices, so there will be one that is most convenient for you.

Do not hesitate to contact Dr Bhadauria and his team if you have any questions about fibromyalgia and to book a private consultation.

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Prosper Health

Health Blog

Saturday, Jul 13, 2024