The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are: pain and stiffness all over the body; fatigue and tiredness; depression and anxiety; sleep problems; problems with thinking, memory, and concentration; headaches (including migraines) and digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome.

The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but studies show that people with the disorder have a heightened sensitivity to pain, so they feel pain when others do not. Brain imaging studies and other research has uncovered evidence of altered signaling in neural pathways that transmit and receive pain in people with fibromyalgia. These changes may also contribute to the fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive problems that many people with the disorder experience.

Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, so genetic factors are likely to contribute to the disorder, but little is known for sure about the specific genes involved. Researchers believe that environmental (nongenetic) factors also play a role in a person’s risk of developing the disorder. These environmental triggers may include having a disease that causes pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

But fibromyalgia can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies which may include: medications, (including prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers); aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening exercise; patient education classes, usually in primary care or community settings; stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and massage; good sleep habits to improve the quality of sleep; cognitive behavioral therapy to treat underlying depression.

The main message for the patients who suffer of fibromyalgia? Improve your quality of life.

- Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week. Walk, swim, or bike 30 minutes a day for five days a week. These 30 minutes can be broken into three separate ten-minute sessions during the day. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

- Go to recommended physical activity programs. Those concerned about how to safely exercise can participate in physical activity programs that are proven effective for reducing pain and disability related to arthritis and improving mood and the ability to move. These classes can help you feel better.

- Join a self-management education class, which helps people with fibromyalgia be more confident in how to control their symptoms, how to live well and understand how the condition affects their lives.

Finally, our best wishes for you in 2023: Live Long, Be Happy, Stay Motivated, Keep Smiling.

For more information contact Grupo HPA Saude at +351 282 420 400.