Fibromyalgia is one of a group of conditions referred to as musculoskeletal pain syndrome. Fibromyalgia causes varying degrees of pain in the muscles and soft tissues that encase the joints. Juvenile fibromyalgia or juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) typically begins in the teen years, (See Reference 3) with 13 being the average age of onset (See Reference 4.) Up to 75 percent of teens with the condition have a family member who suffers from fibromyalgia, explains the he National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA.)
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Sore spots on the muscles are a primary indicator of juvenile fibromyalgia. These spots are referred to as "tender points" because they hurt when pressure is placed on them. Sleep difficulties, fatigue, memory problems, headaches, depression and dizziness are among possible symptoms of fibromyalgia in teens (See Reference 1.) Detecting fibromyalgia in teens can be tricky since no diagnostic tests exist for the condition that's typically move prevalent in adults (See Reference 2.) Diagnosing juvenile fibromyalgia is based on symptoms reported by the adolescent that have persisted for three months or longer, explains the NFA.
Fibromyalgia can be so painful and incapacitating that many teens with the condition miss an average three days of school per month, according to WebMD. Juvenile fibromyalgia can make a teen feel like an outcast among classmates and peers which an lead to social isolation (See Reference 2.) Teens with fibromyalgia can become trapped in a unending cycle of discomfort, fatigue, poor quality sleep and lack of exercise (See Reference 3.) For example, pain makes it hard to sleep and exercise and insufficient sleep exacerbates a patient's perception of pain.
Diminishing pain and improving quality of life to the greatest extent possible is the main goal of treating juvenile fibromyalgia. Your teen's doctor may prescribe medications to ease pain and improve sleep. Keep in mind that the safety and efficacy of fibromyalgia drugs in children and teens have not been studied as thoroughly as in adults (See Reference 2.) Meditation, deep breathing, massage and other muscle relaxing techniques can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. Talking to a professional therapist can help a teen discover what sets off his pain and the best way to cope with it (See Reference 2.)
Juvenile fibromyalgia often improves as time goes on and many teens grow up to lead fulfilling lives, notes the NFA. Successful outcomes are due in large part to early diagnosis and treatment. Getting as much rest and exercise as possible, eating a nutritious diet and dutifully practicing stress-relieving methods can help manage fibromyalgia in teens so they have a fighting chance of being free of debilitating symptoms over the long haul.
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