Fibromyalgia is commonly referred to as all-over body pain. This pain occurs in the joints, tendons, muscles, and other soft tissues.
Although the cause is unknown, possible triggers of fibromyalgia may include infection, abnormal pain response, or physical/emotional trauma.
Most commonly seen in women aged 20 to 50, fibromyalgia pain can be mild to severe.
Rita started experiencing episodes of severe fatigue and muscle pain. She could not find a reason for the aches and pains that constantly assaulted her muscles. Moving was difficult, and she could not keep up with the activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. As time went on, the pain and fatigue eventually became worse, and Rita sought out medical attention. Her doctor diagnosed her with fibromyalgia after determining she had pain in 11 of the tender points associated with the condition. He prescribed her medications to control her pain, and she modified her lifestyle to deal control her symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disease. In the past, those who suffered from this condition were dismissed as having a mental disorder. Since so many of the symptoms mimic other conditions, such as depression and Lyme disease, many people went misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
However, it is now known that fibromyalgia is a serious condition with several verifiable symptoms that differentiate it from other chronic illness. The pain, its pattern, and its persistence are all indicators that this condition is not something in the mind of the patient.
At SoCal Pain Center, we understand that you need specialized attention and treatment as a fibromyalgia patient. It may take a combination of several medications and therapy to help get your symptoms under control. We have a dedicated pain doctor and pain psychologist on staff to help you find the best way to cope with your condition.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes fibromyalgia, but they have several theories. One theory is that it arises from a viral infection, but no specific virus has been implicated as the cause. Since those who have this condition often suffer sleep disturbances, some have theorized that sleep disruption itself causes the symptoms.
Researchers feel that those who have fibromyalgia have different brain chemistry when it comes to pain, and this difference accounts for the abnormal pain patterns. Physical or emotional trauma is often seen in conjunction with fibromyalgia, and researchers are currently exploring if this is a causative factor that can fuel further study into possible treatments.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by its pain that runs in a particular pattern. Those who have this condition feel the pain in specific points of the body, called tender points.
They are areas of the back of the neck, shoulders, hips, chest, lower back, shins, elbows, and knees. To get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you need to have pain in 11 of 18 of the tender points. Although the pain may feel as if it is coming from a joint, it is usually the surrounding tissue that is prompting the pain response.
You may experience pain in the tender points as a dull ache or as a shooting pain. Many patients experience pain and stiffness upon waking in the morning, and the pain tends to get better as the day progresses. Many other conditions are found with fibromyalgia, such as irritable bowel syndrome, concentration problems, tingling in the hands and feet, palpitations, and migraines.
Treatment falls into several broad categories. You can focus on lifestyle changes, take medications, and participate in talk therapy. For lifestyle changes, it has been shown that exercising and using physical therapy can often help with the pain and encourage feelings of wellbeing. A well balanced diet and getting adequate sleep have also shown promise.
Over the counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, are used in treatment, but narcotic pain medications, such as Norco, are used for severe pain. Some anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin and Lyrica, have shown efficacy in treating nerve pain. Antidepressants, such as Cymbalta, have also shown promise in curbing pain symptoms and improving the quality of life. Sleeping pills are helpful if your sleep is disturbed by your pain.
Talk therapy is another important treatment modality to consider. It can help you get rid of negative thoughts, deal with the pain you are facing, and overcome any past traumas in your life. Depression is often present with fibromyalgia and participating in talk therapy can help you with that complication, as well.
At SoCal Pain Center, we see fibromyalgia all the time, and have special techniques for treating this particular type of pain. We have a dedicated pain management doctor who can prescribe you the correct medications to treat your pain, and we have physical therapy and talk therapy available on site to assist with other aspects of care.
If you have fibromyalgia, you owe it to yourself to set up a consultation with us today to see how you can become pain free.