Facts About Fibromyalgia
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Facts About Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a form arthritis that is oftentimes misdiagnosed. Being persistent with your physician will provide you with an answer.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the muscles in the body. It is related to arthritis and is many times misdiagnosed. There are specific symptoms of Fibromyalgia and treatments are available to relieve the symptoms.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sleeplssness
  • Body fatigue
  • Tender trigger points
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritable bowels
  • Depression

Targets of Pain

There are tender and painful points of pressure associated wtih Fibromyalgia. These trigger points are typically not deep in the tissue but are rather superficial, just under the skin. These can be located in more bony areas like knees or elbows, where there is less muscle mass.

The trigger points are typically localized to a small area of the body. The body is usually surprised by the painful sensation because it is stimulated by touch but otherwise may not hurt unless it has contact with something.

There does not seem to be a medical explanation for these trigger points, either. There was speculation that inflamation could be the cause but there does not seem to be any indication that the pain is associated with any swelling.

What to tell your Doctor

It is important that if you suspect that you may have Fibromyalgia that you report all your symptoms to the doctor. If you are experiencing bowel movement problems, are fatigued or have trigger point pain you must let the doctor know these things. If you are embarrassed to tell him the symptoms he will be unable to effectively resolve your symptoms and treat the problem.

The doctor should know about each tender point. To receive an accurate diagnosis for Fibromyalgia there must be at least eleven tender points, up to eighteen. The diagnosis is specific to these symptoms as well as potential depression, a side-effect of the painful experience.

Treating Fibromyalgia

Once a patient has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia they will undergo medication treatment for the pain, as well as possible counseling for the stress or depression that can develop.

  • Alternate remedies
  1. Aerobic exercise may help to relieve the symptoms of fatigue that is experienced by the patient.  In addition, exercise releases endorphens which are "feel good" chemicals.  This can help to relieve both the stress and depression that are associated with Fibromyalgia.
  2. Physical therapy can help the patient to improve muscle control and joint weakness.  The physical therapist concentrates on those areas of the body that are feeling the most fatigue as well as tightness.  Working through the stiffness, the physical therapist can help to relieve much of the pain that is associated with tight muscles.
  3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also used to treat the stress and depression that is associated with Fibromyalgia.  If the mind can overcome the symptoms then the body may be able to better handle the pain that it is feeling.
  4. Holistic treatments can be effectively used in treating Fibromyalgia.  Acupuncture and biofeedback, as well as electroacupuncture have been used successfully for some who suffer from pain.

It may be a good idea to consider some alternative solutions but be sure to communicate with your physician so that he can monitor your progress both with possible medicinal solutions in conjunction with holistic or alternative methods of trying to relieve the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Medication

There are some familiar names of medications that can be used to help relieve the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.

Lyrica.  An anti-convulsant drug, is approved for the treatment of pain associated wtih Fibromyalgia

  • Side effects:  dizziness and sleepiness.  It can also cause weight gain and swelling.  Of course, this medication should be taken under the supervision of a physician.  Keep an eye on your weight and don't let it get out of control.  

Cymbalta is an anti-depressant medication that the FDA has approved for treatment of Fibromyalgia.  

  • Side effects:  nausea, dry mouth, constipation.  It can also cause insomnia and dizziness.

Savella is like Cymbalta.  It is an anti-depressant that changes chemical levels in the brain.  It has also been approved by the FDA for treatment of Fibromyalgia.

  • Side effects:  nausea is the most common side effect but it also has been found to cause headaches, constipation, dizziness and insomnia.

Anti-inflamatory drugs like Aleve and Advil are not effective in treating the pain associated with Fibromyalgia because there is little to no inflamation associated with the disorder.  The pain is not caused by swelling of the joints or muscles. Acetaminophens, like Tylenol, can possibly reduce the sensation of pain because it does not concentrate on swelling as the symptom.  But there is not definitive proof that it will help everyone.  Additionally, steroids, like Prednisone, are also not effective in treating Fibromyalgia, for the same reason that naproxin sodium will not work.  Steroids concentrate on reducing inflamation.

 Muscle relaxers have been found to provide some sort of relief and can be taken at bedtime.  Always read package indications because many muscle relaxers can cause drowsiness and you should not drive or operate heavy machinery.  Consult your physician before taking any medications.

Disclaimer:

** This article provides general information on Fibromyalgia and is not intended to provide full medical information. To find out more about Fibromyalgia treatments and symptoms contact your doctor, or the Food and Drug administration.

Information retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-overview-facts

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