Fibromyalgia is a common painful syndrome, which causes long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Experts say that about two percent of the world's population suffers from fibromyalgia and it is more common in women than men.
Prognosis of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, which can have recurrence (exacerbations) and remissions (decrease) of symptoms over time. Most cases of fibromyalgia do not worsen over time, but in some people, the pain and stiffness may increase progressively. Although, pain and stiffness does not worsen in most patients, depression in fibromyalgia may worsen over time. Taking all your medications as prescribed by the doctor and following a healthy lifestyle (i.e. adherence to exercise, healthy sleep habits and healthy eating) will improve symptoms and your quality of life over time.
Fibromyalgia may vary in severity from mild to severe and the emotional effect can be substantial. The emotional and psychological effect of fibromyalgia can have a greater impact on your quality of life than many other chronic conditions, such as chronic low back pain. Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Therefore, treatment aims to decrease physical and mental symptoms and improve functioning and quality of life. Psychotherapy and behavioural therapy can help you to understand the problem, develop a more positive approach and deal with your thoughts and feelings.
Many people develop difficulty in doing routine activities or are unable to perform them. About 30 - 40% of patients quit work or change jobs because of pain, stiffness and other symptoms. Pain, emotional instability and sleep disturbance in fibromyalgia may cause problems, such as self-medication and overuse of sleeping pills, alcohol, drugs or caffeine. Many people with fibromyalgia may have other associated disease, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, headaches, depression, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, restless leg syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic disorder.
Long term outlook
It is a lifelong condition, which does not get worse in most patients and is not fatal. Long-term studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms usually remain stable and about 25 - 35% of patients have improvement in pain.