What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood problems. This chronic condition is not fully understood, but research shows that when a person has fibromyalgia their pain sensations become amplified.
Unfortunately, many providers don’t understand this chronic condition and they misdiagnose what’s going on, as symptoms of fibromyalgia can mimic those of other conditions.
Dr. Trujillo has extensive experience with fibromyalgia and can help you manage the condition.
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
When diagnosing fibromyalgia, Dr. Trujillo looks for widespread pain that has plagued the patient for over three months. This pain should be occurring in 4 out of the 5 areas of pain that have been used since 2016 in lieu of the former evaluation of trigger points.
There isn’t a lab test for fibromyalgia, but Dr. Trujillo may order certain tests so that he is able to rule out other conditions that can display similar symptoms. These will usually be any of the following blood tests:
- Complete blood count
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Rheumatoid factor
- Thyroid function tests
Diagnosing fibromyalgia is easier for Dr. Trujillo, who is a pain specialist, compared to most typical physicians will little experience with the condition.
What Illnesses Show Symptoms Similar To Fibromyalgia?
Certain other conditions can create symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia. Dr. Trujillo looks to eliminate these possibilities when diagnosing a patient:
- Rheumatoid diseases — Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and lupus all begin with generalized aches and pain.
- Mental health problems — Anxiety disorders and depression can create generalized aches and pain.
- Neurological disorders — In some patients, fibromyalgia causes numbness and tingling. These same symptoms occur with disorders such as multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.
What Are The Causes Of Fibromyalgia?
Doctors aren’t sure why fibromyalgia develops. Several factors may play a role. It may be linked to genetics. It may be linked to certain infections. And it may be triggered by physical or emotional trauma.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can be hard to diagnose. It is more common in women than in men. Symptoms may include a dull pain throughout your body that lasts for more than three months. You may feel fatigued, and you may sleep poorly. You may have headaches, and you may have difficulty concentrating. You may have irritable bowels. These symptoms can lead to depression and anxiety.
Can I Prevent Fibromyalgia Myself?
Fibromyalgia is a mysterious chronic condition that is not fully understood. It cannot be prevented, but you can reduce the frequency and severity of your pain and other symptoms. The goal is to prevent flare-ups, as there is no rhyme or reason as to why a person acquires the condition. All of the treatment approaches — from getting better sleep to reducing stress, from regular exercise to eating a healthy diet — these are the necessary steps to manage fibromyalgia.
What Are The Current Treatments For Fibromyalgia?
At Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, our treatments for fibromyalgia include a mix of medication, therapy, and self-care. There is no cure for this condition, but the goal is to minimize the symptoms and improve the patient’s general health. Treatment success varies with different patients.
What Medications Can I Take To Help With My Fibromyalgia?
Medications seek to reduce pain and improve the patient’s sleep.
- Pain relievers — We usually start with over-the-counter options, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. Dr. Trujillo may suggest a prescription pain reliever such as tramadol, but narcotic pain relievers are avoided due to their addiction possibilities.
- Antidepressants— Duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) have shown to help ease pain and fatigue in some patients. Muscle relaxants can help with sleep.
- Anti-seizure drugs — Certain medications originally intended to treat the seizures of epilepsy are often useful for reducing certain types of fibromyalgia pain. Pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia.
With therapy, the goal is to strengthen the body and work around some of the pain.
- Physical therapy — Exercises are used to improve strength, flexibility, and stamina. Water-based therapy can be a good option here.
- Occupational therapy — Occupational therapists help fibromyalgia patients make adjustments to their work space and the way certain tasks are performed to reduce stress on the body.
- Counseling — Counselors can help patients cope with the pain and stress of fibromyalgia
Lifestyle changes and self-care are critical components in the management of fibromyalgia.
- Stress reduction — It’s important for patients with fibromyalgia to limit overexertion and emotional stress. It’s good to keep working, as remaining active is important. We’ll help you with stress management techniques such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation.
- Sleep — Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, so getting more sleep is important. We’ll help you with sleep strategies and habits that will improve the quality of your nights.
- Exercise — Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can actually decrease your pain. This may not be the case at first, but exercise such as walking, swimming, biking, and water aerobics can be very helpful. Stretching, good posture, and relaxation techniques are also useful.
- Moderation — You can’t overdo things. Too much activity one day will create more bad days down the road.
- Healthy lifestyle — Eating better. Limiting your caffeine. Doing something you find enjoyable every day. These all help improve your health and your outlook.
With chronic pain conditions, alternative therapies can be effective. That’s why meditation, yoga, and acupuncture have been practiced for thousands of years.
- Acupuncture — This Chinese medical system inserts fine needles through the skin to various depths. The needles cause changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord.
- Massage therapy — Massage can reduce the patient’s heart rate, relax tight muscles improve range of motion, and increase the body’s production of natural painkillers.
- Yoga and tai chi — The combination of meditation, slow movements, deep breathing, and relaxation can be very effective for relieving fibromyalgia symptoms.
Is CBD Oil Good For Fibromyalgia?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 chemical compounds derived from cannabis. There is ongoing research into the possibilities of CBD for treating fibromyalgia. While not specifically mentioned in the approved conditions for many states with legalized medical marijuana, “chronic pain” is addressed in most. Obviously, that would include fibromyalgia.
There is a good deal of anecdotal data that suggests CBD oil may alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia. CBD has been found to effectively reduce pain, improve sleep, and diminish refractory pain, so it may be effective for treating fibromyalgia.
Does Fibromyalgia Get Better With Time?
Symptoms can improve with time, especially when you employ the treatment options listed above. But fibromyalgia usually won’t improve on its own once it has taken hold in a patient. This isn’t something to “tough out.” That’s why it’s so important to seek the advice and treatment of a pain specialist such as Dr. Trujillo.
Has Anyone Died From Fibromyalgia?
While this is a chronic condition, it is not life-threatening.