Fibromyalgia and Treatment
Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting or chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). If you have fibromyalgia, you have pain and tenderness throughout your body.
How is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Fibromyalgia can be treated with medicines, lifestyle changes, and complementary therapy. However, fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It’s important you find a physical therapist who is familiar with the disorder and its treatment.
Making lifestyle changes can also help you manage your fibromyalgia, including:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Adjusting your work demands.
- Eating well.
You can also try complementary therapies such as:
- Physical therapy.
- Massage therapy.
- Movement therapy.
- Diet supplements.
Who gets Fibromyalgia?
Anyone can get this disorder, though it occurs most often in women and often starts in middle age. If you have certain other diseases, you may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus).
- Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).
If you have a family member with fibromyalgia, you may be more likely to get the disorder.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain and tenderness throughout your body. Other symptoms may also include:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Morning stiffness.
- Painful menstrual periods.
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.
- Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”).
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of fibromyalgia. Researchers continue to study fibromyalgia and think the following events may contribute to the cause of the disorder:
- Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents.
- Repetitive injuries.
- Certain diseases.
Sometimes, fibromyalgia can develop on its own. Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, and some scientists think that a gene or genes could make you more likely to develop fibromyalgia. The genes could make you react strongly to things that other people would not find painful.
Are there Any Tests for Fibromyalgia?
Currently there aren’t any laboratory tests to diagnose fibromyalgia.
Healthcare providers use guidelines to help diagnose fibromyalgia, which can include:
- A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months.
- Physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems.
- The number of areas throughout the body in which you had pain in the past week.
If you are looking for someone with experience treating fibromyalgia, we can help.
Chronic Pain Treatment
Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than several months (variously defined as 3 to 6 months, but certainly longer than “normal healing”). It’s a very common problem. Recent clinical studies suggest the following:
- About 25.3 million U.S. adults (11.2 percent) had pain every day for the previous 3 months.
- Nearly 40 million adults (17.6 percent) had severe pain.
- Individuals with severe pain had worse health, used more health care, and had more disability than those with less severe pain.
What Types of Conditions Sometimes Result in Chronic Pain?
People can suffer with chronic pain in a number of areas of the body. We commonly treat patients that have chronic pain in the follow areas:
- Headaches caused by postural syndromes and work-related activities
- Neck pain caused by car accidents, postural syndromes, work-related activity
- Lower back pain caused by car accidents, lifting injuries, slip-and-falls
- Hip pain as a result of osteoarthritis or injury
- Knee pain as a result of osteoarthritis and sports injuries
Problems Associated with Chronic Pain
Patients that are experiencing chronic pain often have some or all of the following:
- Fear of performing daily activities
- Tightness and stiffness
- Increased use of pain pills
- New or worsening conditions
- Circulation problems
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapist directed treatment can help chronic pain patients in the following areas:
Patient education - physical therapists help chronic pain patients understand that chronic pain is complex involving more than damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint tissues. Emotions, depression, anxiety, nervous system hypersensitivity, tissue damage, and pain caused in the brain are all components of chronic pain that may be addressed by
Hands-on treatment - soft tissue and spinal manipulative techniques are often effective to help decrease pain and increase mobility. Graded exercise programs - improving your strength and endurance can make it easier to move around during the day. Consider daily activities like getting out of of a chair or a car, climbing stairs, or walking long distances. These are daily activities that graded exercise programs, provided by a physical therapist, can help with.
Posture and body mechanics instructions - understanding how to properly lift, sit, bend, reach, and perform specific daily activities can help. Moreover, progressively recovering normal movements through stretching and strengthening can assist in the return to normal daily activities.