Fibromyalgia

Definition:
Fibromyalgia is a condition of the muscles and tissues in the body. On top of chronic pain, fibromyalgia is known to impact many other aspects of life including sleep, mood, and memory. Researchers do not know a lot about this condition, but we do know that the majority of cases are found in women.

Causes:
The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains a mystery. However, it is believed that fibromyalgia has a hereditary link, meaning that fibromyalgia may run in the family. Fibromyalgia symptoms usually begin after a stressful or traumatic event, so another theory suggests that these events (such as an injury, giving birth, or an emotional situation) may trigger the condition. However, these are not the only theories, and researchers continue to learn more about fibromyalgia to get a more exact cause.  

Symptoms:
It can be difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia because it shares symptoms with many other conditions. However, fibromyalgia is unique in the fact that fibromyalgia patients have common “tender points,” which are areas of the body where most fibromyalgia patients feel pain. Besides the tender points, patients can have pain just about anywhere, often having widespread pain in multiple locations at once. In addition to pain, patients may also feel fatigue, restless sleep, depression, stomach cramps, or have concentration problems. Patients may experience what is known as a “fibro fog” where they cannot focus or remember the task they were working on.

Treatments:
Since fibromyalgia affects many different aspects of life, physicians at TriState Pain recommend trying a variety of different treatments to improve all aspects of life.

Generally, the first step is to get the pain under control. Patients can begin drug therapy with a number of FDA-approved pain medications designed for fibromyalgia patients. If needed, trigger point injections may be administered to treat painful muscles. TriState Pain Institute offers a number of alternative therapies as well to complement drug therapy, like medical food agents to help patients maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight may put more pressure on the joints and cause additional pain, so Dr. Venger recommends medical food agents to help patients struggling with this issue. We can also refer patients to a specialized care facility to receive massage therapy, chiropractic care, and other therapies in an effort to relieve pain and promote relaxation to combat symptoms of depression and insomnia. 

 

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