Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can be defined as pain felt throughout the entire body. The effects are long-lasting and are specifically experienced in the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. The pain may also feel like it is in your joints, although fibromyalgia does not physically affect these areas.
Fibromyalgia pain generally begins at a specific area known as a tender point and then radiates outward. These tender points can include the back of the neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, shins, elbows or knees.
Patients dealing with fibromyalgia describe the sensation in a number of ways. It can be experienced as a deep acheor shooting pain. Symptoms can arise exclusively in the morning upon waking, or they can persist throughout the entire day. Some people may notice that their fibromyalgia is negatively affected by physical activity, stress, or even cold weather.
Causes and Conditions
Doctors are still unsure as to what specifically causes fibromyalgia. The most popular belief is that the functions of the brain that process pain may act in an unnatural way and cause some to experience fibromyalgia symptoms. This would explain why not all of us are affected. Whatever the cause, there are several conditions that generally coincide with fibromyalgia, including:
- Physical trauma
- Emotional stress
- Poor sleep
- Viral infection
- Chronic neck or back pain
- Lyme disease
In some cases, fibromyalgia symptoms can also bring about:
- Trouble concentrating
- Tingling in the hands and feet
- Migraine headaches
- Irritable bowel syndrome
If you have been experiencing pain throughout your body that emanates from one of the tender points mentioned above, and if it has persisted for three or more months, you may be suffering from fibromyalgia.
Our doctors will discuss your symptoms with you to determine what factors could be leading to your discomfort. At this time, a blood test may also be performed to rule out any other possible conditions.
Our treatment plans use a combination of medications, physical therapy, behavioral counseling and lifestyle changes.
We may prescribe muscle relaxants or pain relievers to alleviate some of your discomfort, and sleep aids to help improve your rest. Our specialists may also use massage and physical exercise to loosen your muscles and connective tissues to remove tension and improve circulation.
As fibromyalgia often leads to higher levels of stress and anxiety, we will teach you a variety of relaxation techniques and behavioral changes to help you cope with your pain and the rigors of daily life.