Fibromyalgia : When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Jun 29, 2012

Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful disorder, which is characterised by widespread pain in the body, restless sleep, feeling tired (even after spending adequate amount of time in bed), chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and disturbances in bowel movement. Fibromyalgia is also called fibromyalgia syndrome and abbreviated FMS. Formerly it was known as fibrositis.

Consult a doctor if you have one or more of the following problems suggestive of some significant medical problem:

  • Extensive pain in the body and tenderness on various parts of the body. Pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia, which can vary in severity from mild to severe. The person experiences pain upon touch and the painful areas are called tender points.
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch or pain.  If you are extremely sensitive to pain. For instance, after hurting your toe, the pain is more severe and tends to last much longer than it normally would or you feel pain to something that should not be painful at all, such as a very light touch.
  • Stiff body. Especially after being in the same position for a long period of time (such as the stiffness is worse in morning).
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness. You may feel tired even after taking rest or doing minimal work. Some people may complain of suddenly feeling sapped of all the energy.
  • Poor quality sleep. This makes you feel tired (even though you have had plenty of sleep) in the morning.
  • Cognitive problems. Such as problem with thinking and learning or difficulty in remembering and learning new things and difficulty in concentration.
  • Pain and stiffness. Especially in the neck and shoulders and frequent headaches
  • Disturbances in bowel function

These are some symptoms that may occur in a person with fibromyalgia. Similar symptoms, however, can be caused by several other illnesses. Your doctor may examine you and if needed, do tests to diagnose the cause and treat the symptoms.

If you have fibromyalgia, consult your doctor if:

  • the pain is getting worse or there is no improvement even though you are taking medications as recommended and following healthy lifestyle.
  • Most people with fibromyalgia do not have to visit the emergency department. Only occasionally will you need an injection to control the pain. In such a case, it is advisable to consult your doctor before going to the hospital.

Who to consult

Some healthcare professionals, who may be consulted for fibromyalgia include:

  • damily medicine doctor
  • internist
  • occupational medicine specialist
  • rheumatologist (a specialist in conditions that affect the muscles and joints)
  • neurologist (a specialist in conditions of the central nervous system).


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