If you have received a fibromyalgia diagnosis, you will no doubt be used to the chronic pain that comes with the condition.
Muscle aches, stiffness, anxiety, and fatigue are just some of the things that you encounter on a daily basis. And, though currently there is no cure, fibromyalgia treatment can and does relieve symptoms considerably.
Fibromyalgia treatment is best when it’s comprehensive.
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t yield the greatest patient outcomes, as no two conditions present in exactly the same way.
Instead, the best fibromyalgia treatment necessitates a combination of medication, home therapy and a change in lifestyle habits.
And, what is more, this treatment will be all-inclusive and patient-centred.
Have you, like millions of other Americans,been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Are you wondering if you are suffering from this chronic pain condition?
Read on. We have all the information you need and more.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Sometimes patients are left waiting on effective fibromyalgia treatment for far longer than what is ideal. This is because fibromyalgia isn’t easily diagnosed through a single test. Rather, it is diagnosed based on a collection of signs, symptoms and medical problems that occur together but have no identifiable cause.
It presents itself in the form of widespread pain in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
It’s a chronic condition but it isn’t progressive and it’s not life-threatening. Appearing in more women than men, it can be called other names such as Chronic Muscle Pain Syndrome, Psychogenic Rheumatism, and Fibrositis.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown.
In some cases, a theory called “central sensitization” may be at play. This is when a person has a lower pain threshold than others due to an increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals.
A number of other factors may play a role.
Fibromyalgia symptoms differ from one person to another. They also vary in intensity from one day to the next. It follows then, that the onset of symptoms appears differently too.
For some people, it appears that symptoms can be triggered by certain events.
These events include the following:
- Psychological stress – A sudden stressful event or a prolonged period of stress
- Sleep disturbances – Often spotted as a symptom, some experts theorize that this may, in fact, be a cause
- Physical trauma – If an injury affects the central nervous system, this can initiate fibromyalgia symptoms
- An infection – A viral or bacterial infection can trigger fibromyalgia
- Changes in muscle metabolism – Abnormalities in the hormonal substance that influences the nerves may play a role
In some cases, symptoms have no apparent trigger at all and, instead, gradually accumulate over a period of time.
People with fibromyalgia will be all too familiar with the different symptoms that are associated with the condition.
Symptoms include the following:
- Pain in tender points across the body
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Deep muscle pain and/or burning
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle fatigue
- Aching all over
- Tension headaches
- Chronic headaches
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Numbness and/or tingling in hands and feet
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Always feeling tired – even after a good night’s sleep
Factors such as the time of day, the weather, the amount of physical activity you engage in, and the amount of stress in your life are all factors that can have an effect on the symptoms as they appear.
If left untreated, living with fibromyalgia can be a truly exhausting experience. While the intensity of symptoms vary, the pain is unlikely to disappear completely by itself.
Fibromyalgia Treatment – The Comprehensive Approach
When fibromyalgia is treated effectively, a comprehensive, widespread, multidisciplinary approach is taken.
Pain management, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments are an important part of any successful fibromyalgia treatment.
Here are some treatments with proven efficacy:
Certain medications can be used in fibromyalgia treatment.
They come in the following three different forms:
Medications such as Tylenol, etc, may help relieve the pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen), when combined with other medications can relieve pain in many cases.
In certain cases, pain relieving injections can be administered.
A wide range of antidepressants may be used to treat the condition.
In some cases, antidepressants can help regulate brain chemicals that transmit pain signals. This can relieve pain, fatigue and can aid sleep problems.
In addition, antidepressants actively help with symptoms of depression, a condition commonly seen in people with fibromyalgia.
Muscle pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia, so effective fibromyalgia treatment often includes the use of muscle relaxants.
Taking certain muscle relaxants at bedtime may help treat muscle pain and spasms. Though in most cases, muscle relaxants will be used for a limited amount of time.
The use of exercise is a powerful fibromyalgia treatment, even though this may seem counter-intuitive to some sufferers.
Often, the pain a person is currently in leads them to fear exercise in the extreme.
But, this fear is simply that: a fear. Aerobic or conditioning exercise can help relieve the pain of fibromyalgia, and it can also relieve symptoms of depression.
Regular, consistent exercise increases the production of endorphins, nature’s natural painkillers that help with mood.
Starting slowly and increasing the duration and intensity of exercise can be an important aspect of fibromyalgia treatment.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is frequently recommended in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
It’s been well-researched, it works for many different people, and, when combined with other interventions specifically tailored to the individual needs of each patient, it can be extremely effective.
Working Closely with Your Doctor
This is an extremely important part of all fibromyalgia treatment.
Dr. Spivak will not only understand your fibromyalgia symptoms, he will put you, the person with the condition, front, and center of everything he does.
He is a trained expert who understands more than anyone else, the precise nature of the pain you live with. He can assess your symptoms, understand your needs, and tailor a unique and specific approach for you.
And, remember, in certain cases, surgery may be a good option for all kinds of chronic pain. If this is the case, he will be able to recommend the least invasive, most cutting edge surgery for you.
Fibromyalgia Treatment to Improve Your Health
You can now consider yourself well-versed in fibromyalgia as a condition, and in the different forms of treatment that help relieve symptoms.
Should you have any further questions, or if you need any more advice, why not reach out and talk to Dr. Spivak?
You never have to suffer alone.