Definition - What does Fibromyalgia mean?
Fibromyalgia is a potentially debilitating musculoskeletal condition that causes varying degrees of pain, ranging from moderate to severe. It affects the muscles, ligaments, and tendons with chronic symptoms including general fatigue, widespread pain in the body, with localized tender spots that are felt more acutely, disruptive sleep patterns, anxiety and depression, migraines, and overall decreased quality of life. While the cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, it is predominantly diagnosed in women. Medical treatments are still limited to fighting symptoms of the condition as the cause is still unknown.
WorkplaceTesting explains Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia has been carefully studied by medical experts for decades, but decoding its root cause, including epidemiological factors associated with its wide range of signs and symptoms, remains inconclusive. People living with fibromyalgia can experience chronic signs and symptoms including, dull, achy sensations in soft tissue areas, in particular, extreme sensitivity along tender points (also referred to as trigger points), lethargic mobility, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, and a feeling of malaise or general discomfort accompanying the number of predisposing side effects experienced by people on a regular basis. For doctors, diagnosing patients with fibromyalgia can be an elusive procedure because there is no definitive cause attributed to its onset combined with subjective pain thresholds unique to each case.
While a preventative treatment cure does not exist, physicians who recognize the severity of the illness focus on symptom mitigation as temporary solutions to alleviate bouts of ongoing physical pain and discomfort. Because stress can aggravate symptoms, some physicians also recommend treatments such as group therapy and other stress relief practices.
The pathology of fibromyalgia can impose taxing mental and physical strain on people, placing significant limitations on their abilities to execute tasks optimally, especially in the workplace. For example, many fibromyalgia sufferers experience chronic pain and fatigue, which can impede their work. By helping employers and other employees understand the mental and physical deficits incurred by fibromyalgia, appropriate modifications can be instrumental in terms of facilitating job responsibilities. This can mean allowing additional rest breaks on a discretionary basis or appointing light duties to avoid overexertion and aggravated pain spells, providing more work from home opportunities, and taking steps to alleviate stressful work situations such as educating coworkers about fibromyalgia since there is a continuing misconception in the public eye that it is not real.
However, in some cases, the condition may become severe enough that workers qualify for disability ratings.