FAQ’s on Fibromyalgia
Widespread pain and tenderness occurring throughout the body, particularly found in specified areas of the back, hips, neck, and extremities, that is considered to be a connective tissue disorder is known as fibromyalgia. The condition is characterized by
Women experience fibromyalgia much more than men. The female to male ratio is 7:1; however, the condition has been seen in men and children, but is considered to be rare (Lawrence et al., Arthritis Rheum, 2008).
Statistics show that women are more affected by fibromyalgia than men, and of those women affected (approximately 2% of all women), most are diagnosed during the middle age between 35 and 50. The prevalence of the condition increases, as a person gets older (Wolfe et al., 2008).
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
While the etiology of fibromyalgia is unknown, the symptoms are characterized by widespread pain, interrupted sleep without the ability to wake refreshed, extreme fatigue and psychological and emotional stress. Other symptoms commonly seen in patients with fibromyalgia include:
- Stiffness in joints and limbs, especially upon waking
- Headaches that may be persistent in nature, sometimes progressing as migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome and bowel sensitivity
- Disturbances in sleep, unable to wake refreshed
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty thinking clearly, experiencing a fogginess in the mind
- Inability to remember things
- Irritability, anxiety and stress
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities, hands or feet
Some patients report symptoms in particular areas of the body and notice that pain is exacerbated when these areas are touched or pressure is applied. These areas are known as tender spots. The most common locations for these tender areas include the back, back of the head, neck, elbows, knees and hips. The pain may flare up and last for weeks or even months at a time, or, with treatment, subside and go into a remission state that lasts for weeks or months.
Patients with chronic pain from fibromyalgia may also experience headaches and facial pain that brought on by the pain in the neck or in between the shoulder blades. Pain and sensitivity are common with this condition and should be treated by a San Diego pain management specialist.
People with fibromyalgia often report a heightened sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, pressure or touch. This increased sensitivity is similar to that which brings on migraine headaches. The sensitization involves both the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System, where patients have a low threshold for pain and sensitivity brought on by light, noise and touch. This is a common complication of fibromyalgia that should be treated.
Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia Patients
Treatment is needed to alleviate painful symptoms associated with the condition. If a person goes untreated, they may not be able to carry out daily activities or a normal routine. Work and life may be significantly interrupted due to the pain and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Treatment has been shown to significantly improve symptom, even offering a period of remission where the patient experiences a time that is free of pain and symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a physical and emotional condition, and as a result, both areas must be treated. One of the most challenging aspects of treating the condition is to balance treatment between the physical and psychological problems the patient faces. San Diego pain management specialists who are experienced in treating fibromyalgia patients have found the balance and are able to treat both sides of the condition. The patient must be treated for pain and physical symptoms as well as emotional or psychological hardships.
The treatment goal is to reduce pain. Pharmacological treatment with the following offers favorable outcomes when accompanied by other forms of treatment.
- Antidepressant medication
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Sleep aids
- Neurogenic medications like Lyrica
One of the most important goals of treatment is to reduce the pain while providing the patient with the ability to sleep through the night. Interrupted sleep or chronic sleep disturbances should be alleviated because of the exacerbated pain that may occur. The goal of the pain doctor in San Diego is to restore a normal sleep cycle for the patient, helping to alleviate the pain that is often related to poor sleep patterns.
Another goal of treatment is to restore the ability to carry out daily activities. Further therapy is often needed to help regain mobility and increase physical movement (Rooks, 2007). A chronic pain specialist offers a combination of pharmacological treatment and a variety of other forms of therapy, such as:
- Heat application therapy
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Aqua therapy
- TENS unit therapy
- Trigger point injections for pain
- Exercise and stretch therapy
- IV Therapy Treatment – Myer\’s Cocktail
While some of these therapies have been in practice for hundreds and even thousands of years, in the case of acupuncture, many are gaining popularity today because of the favorable results they offer patients with fibromyalgia.
San Diego pain management doctors offer considerable treatment options for fibromyalgia. It\’s a difficult condition to effectively treat, but with individualized treatment excellent outcomes can be achieved.
If you or a loved one is suffering from fibromyalgia, let the California Pain Network help connect you with the best pain management San Diego offers. Call (619) 500-1573 today!