The medical term, Fibromyalgia, comes from the Greek words fibro, myo, and algo, indicating fibrous tissue, muscles and pain associated with those parts. Fibromyalgia involves all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and tissues of the body, affecting the age group of 20s to 40s, mostly in women. It is for this reason doctors tend to misinterpret the symptoms of pain in men, and overrule the diagnosis as Fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in men
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are the same in men and women. It starts with pain all over the body, though the pains and symptoms will be milder in men, than in women. It is usual for the suffering man to attribute the pain to being overworked; hence, the disease goes unreported if in men. There could be pain, associated with muscles or a general throbbing and burning sensation all over the body. On certain specific areas of the body, there would tenderness and when pressure is applied over that point, severe pain is produced. These tender points could be in between the shoulder blades, around the neck, inner knees, back of the head, upper chest, and the upper region of the hips. Sleep disorders due to severe muscle pains all over the body are common in both men and women who suffer from stiffness of the muscles. Continuing to stay asleep, if one could sleep at all, is often difficult due to the constant pain in the muscles of the body.
Other unique symptoms of Fibromyalgia in men are loss of memory owing to lack of concentration, pain in the jaws, cheek bones and facial muscles. Those suffering from Fibromyalgia cannot smile and laugh heartily, owing to the pain associated with the muscles and tendons of the mouth and face. Morning sickness, nagging headache that will not subside (even after considerable rest), irritable bowel syndrome, sensitivity to light, and being irritated by noise are other symptoms of fibromyalgia in both men and women.
Diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia in men
A differential diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is done based on ruling out other diseases that trigger the same physical symptoms of pain and fatigue. Treatment is not yet established, and it entirely depends on the attending physician. Most common methods are to use general pain medications and sometimes corticosteroids will be administered, under strict medical supervision.
Because of the social reasons that men are supposedly stronger in muscle strength and disease resistance, men suffering with Fibromyalgia often do not report any pain and associated discomfort until the last moment. Oftentimes, the pain can be managed with specific medications such as Lyrica and certain antidepressants. Fibromyalgia can be as troubling for men as it is for women; however, trying to keep a positive attitude and trying to stay active as possible do help to keep some of the pain at bay.
National Fibromyalgia Association