Associated Conditions of Fibromyalgia
Many patients come into our clinic each year seeking fibromyalgia pain relief. No one is sure what causes fibromyalgia, but there are a number of conditions that often occur with fibromyalgia or mimic the symptoms of the condition. These include:
- Chronic fatique syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic back and neck pain
- Lyme disease
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be triggered (or potentially caused) by factors such as:
- Emotional or physical trauma
- An abnormal pain response in the in brain of the patient
- Disturbance to normal sleeping patterns
- Infections or viruses, although this has not been confirmed or identified
Before a doctor can help you with fibromyalgia pain relief, you’ll need to be diagnosed. Diagnosis of the condition will depend on symptoms such as:
- Widespread pain for three months of longer
- Tender points in at least 11 of the common pain points for fibromyalgia sufferers, which include the neck, back, thighs, elbows, and shoulders.
In order to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may request blood and urine tests. While there is no test currently for fibromyalgia, these blood and urine samples can help your doctor rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms to fibromyalgia.
The Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
Initial Treatments for Fibromyalgia
The goal of chronic pain management treatment for fibromyalgia sufferers is to help the patient live with the symptoms. Suggested treatments might include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Physical therapy
- Fitness regimens
Medication Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
If these fibromyalgia pain relief treatments don’t work, pain medication may be the next step recommended by your back pain specialist. Medication can help improve the quality of sleep the patient is getting as well as help them tolerate the pain. There are many drugs that may be prescribed for fibromyalgia, including:
- Sleeping aids
- Anti-seizure medication
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an important part of fibromyalgia pain relief treatment. Keeping a diary of the symptoms and pain can help the patient control negative thoughts they might be experiencing, as well as track when symptoms get worse and what might be triggering them.
Patients with fibromyalgia should seek out activities that they enjoy doing and focus on the positives in their life. Be aware of your physical limitations and don’t over exert yourself.
Support Groups And Other Recommendations
If you are having trouble coping with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic pain, you may find relief by joining a support group. You can gain insight from other members and support each other in your condition. Along with a support group, you can provide self-care by doing the following:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Try acupuncture
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Set up a sleep routine
If your symptoms continue and you are having trouble finding relief, you may want to ask for a referral to a pain clinic.
The Prognosis for Fibromyalgia
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are many treatments for chronic pain available. Studies show that fibromyalgia patients who are treated by a multidisciplinary team have the most positive outcomes. That team should include your primary care doctor, a mental health doctor, and an alternative therapies manager. Working with an experienced medical team and creating a care and treatment plan can help you live a happy, healthy life while managing your fibromyalgia symptoms.