Manring & Farrell

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is one of the conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance in Ohio. Doctors and researchers do not yet fully understand fibromyalgia. For these reasons, initial misdiagnosis is fairly common. The cause is unknown, but the presence of other conditions, like lupus, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, may be a risk factor, as is a family history of fibromyalgia. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition may affect either men or women but occurs more often in the latter. 

People with fibromyalgia often have difficulty maintaining mental focus, finding it difficult to pay attention and concentrate. Cognitive difficulties such as these may occur alongside chronic fatigue and/or sleep disorders. However, the hallmark of fibromyalgia may be the pain that is widespread throughout the body and endures for at least three months. Patients with fibromyalgia describe it as a dull ache that occurs constantly. 

Sometimes the symptoms of fibromyalgia develop over time. Other patients report a single event, such as an infection, surgery or physical trauma, that triggered the initial symptoms. A number of other painful conditions, such as temporomandibular joint disorders, migraines or irritable bowel syndrome, may co-exist with fibromyalgia. Patients may also experience psychological conditions of anxiety or depression related to the frustration of coping with the condition. 

Researchers theorize that fibromyalgia stems from changes in the brain due to repeated nerve stimulation. The changes cause neurotransmitters in the brain to increase to an abnormal level, which causes the pain receptors in the brain to become more sensitive. 

Whatever the cause, treatments that may be effective for fibromyalgia include exercise or physical therapy, counseling or stress reduction, medications like anti-depressants and pain relievers or alternative treatments like massage therapy or acupuncture. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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