Dear Ask The Doctor: For the last three months I am tired all the time and my stomach is upset all the time. My doctor ran tests but nothing came up. Also my joints are throbbing all the time. My mom has fibromyalgia and she was wondering if I could also have that.
Dear Patient: Thank you for your question. When results for problematic symptoms turn up normal, it can be frustrating. It is always a good idea to ask you doctor if it "could be anything else" other than the disease he tested for or if "retesting is warranted" after a period of time.
The reason I mention this is because Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion meaning we diagnose someone with it after all other possible conditions have been ruled out.
Fibromyalgia still remains poorly studied but we do know that it is hereditary (runs in families) and is worsened by physical and emotional stresses. Prescription medications are an option and have varying levels of success.
The most important thing in fibromyalgia is to find a treatment that works for you through trial and error. Some people prefer vigorous exercise, others prefer rest. Some people prefer hot compresses, others prefer cold treatments. Some people have had success with alternative health care practitioners and others have had success with enhancing their socialization. The reported success of these vastly different treatment modalities underlines how little we truly understand about Fibromyalgia.