Fibromyalgia is a disorder harder than others to diagnose. Many researchers feel that fibromyalgia increases painful sensations by affecting the way pain signals are processed by the brain. Fibromyalgia is more common among females, and it is the cause of many cases of chronic pain.
According to statistics, fibromyalgia affects around 3.5% of the general population. The condition is fairly common, and it affects many middle-aged women. Of a recent survey of fibromyalgia patients, 79% reported potential triggering events that led to the onset of their disease. In addition, 89% of fibromyalgia patients at an Australian public hospital identified recognizable triggers.
Maryland pain doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia. Many doctors speculate reasons behind this disorder which include:
Infections. Doctors feel that some illnesses aggravate or cause this disorder.
Trauma. It may be related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Genetics. Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, therefore some doctors feel that genetic mutations may make a person more apt to developing this condition.
Environment. Many holistic doctors feel that fibromyalgia may be a result of chemicals used in our daily lives from GMOs/toxic herbicides/toxic pesticides in our foods, among other household and personal chemicals.
Other causes and reasons you may feel pain from fibromyalgia is due to repeated nerve stimulation in people’s brains. This may trigger an increase, which isn’t normal, in the levels of particular chemicals in the brain that signal pain. The brain can become more sensitive due to remembering the pain and overreact to the signs of pain. Here are a few more reasons you may experience fibromyalgia:
Family history. If a relative has experienced this condition, it’s more likely that you will.
Rheumatic disorders. If you have rheumatic disease, such as lupus or arthritis, you may develop fibromyalgia.
Gender. Fibromyalgia affects women more often than men, but it is possible for men to experience or develop fibromyalgia.
Symptoms accumulate over time and usually with no warning. Infection, trauma, surgery, or psychological stress can many times bring on the symptoms. Many people who have fibromyalgia have other symptoms as well, and they are always likely to be women. Men develop this disorder much less often than women. Here are some other symptoms experienced with fibromyalgia patients:
Fatigue. Many people report being very tired even after having a sufficient amount of sleep. They awaken in their sleep with pain which may also cause or aggravate sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.
Broad range of pain. The range of pain is considered to occur on both sides of the body, above and below the waist. It’s reported as a constant dull pain, which may last up to three months.
Cognitive problems. Many people refer to this as fibromyalgia fog of the mind or “fibro fog,” which lessens our focus and ability to pay attention.
Other pain. Fibromyalgia has causes common problems such as headaches, cramping in lower abdomen, and even depression.
Diagnosis and Treatments
The Annapolis pain doctor will give a physical examination, ask questions about your sleeping habits, and inquire whether you have been anxious or depressed. He/she may also check pressure points which many fibromyalgia patients have on their body. This is done by pressing firmly into the skin, looking for the most painful areas. The guidelines for fibromyalgia testing doesn’t require this test anymore, but many physicians still perform it. The doctor may also ask you how widespread your pain is, and for how long you’ve experienced it. There isn’t a blood test to confirm fibromyalgia, but the doctor may do blood tests to check for and rule out any other conditions. These blood tests include but aren’t limited to:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Complete blood count
Thyroid function test
Your Maryland pain specialist may use the following to improve conditions:
Anti-seizure drugs. These drugs are used to treat epilepsy and have been known to help different types of pain.
Pain relievers. These drugs may be over the counter versions or prescription strength and may include Tylenol, ibuprofen (which is Advil, Motrin and IB), and naproxen.
Antidepressants – At night, your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline to help with sleep. Other antidepressants may help with pain and fatigue which are associated with fibromyalgia.
Procedures – patients with fibromyalgia present with various levels of pain and areas where they hurt. At times, trigger point injections may help or possibly joint injections.