Fibromyalgia patients represent a subset of individuals with widespread chronic pain. The etiology and pathophysiology of fibromyalgia are not known at present. There is no evidence of inflammation of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Still, current theories on the cause of fibromyalgia are that it is due to a disorder of pain regulation and central sensitization, meaning the central nervous system is essentially hypersensitive to pain stimuli. There is an issue in the brain that leads it to believe there is pain when there is not or are susceptible to pain stimuli. Board-certified doctors at Houston pain clinics help patients find relief from their fibromyalgia symptoms so that they can live pain-free.
The epidemiology of pharmacology is predominantly female. The general age of onset is anywhere between 20 to 55. Conditions associated with fibromyalgia include chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, restless leg syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia
- With regards to musculoskeletal symptoms, there is widespread chronic pain or multi-site pain.
- Allodynia: Increased sensitivity to palpation or pressure
- Focal muscle tenderness on palpation: A doctor will conduct a physical examination and find that certain areas in the body are tender to palpation. Those sites can include the head, upper and lower spine, buttocks, arms, chest areas, abdomen, and legs.
- Stiffness and aching, especially in the morning
- A sensation of swollen joints worsens with stress, minor activity, and even prolonged inactivity.
- The other symptoms that are common with fibromyalgia include fatigue and sleep disturbances.
- Psychiatric symptoms like depression and anxiety are more common in individuals with inadequate social support.
- Multiple somatic symptoms in different parts of their body
- Decreased attention and difficulty with multitasking
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
There are no current laboratory findings that tell us the cause of fibromyalgia, and the diagnosis is typically based on history, physical examination, and laboratory findings. In history, patients complain of widespread musculoskeletal pain in specific body areas, with the pain lasting at least three months, accompanied by fatigue and sleep disturbance. Other associated symptoms may include headaches, cognitive disturbances, and irritable bowel. During a physical examination, a doctor will find widespread tenderness on palpation.
Treatment of fibromyalgia
The first step is to educate the patient on fibromyalgia and advise them on good sleep hygiene. A patient should understand the importance of going to bed at regular hours. Avoid any light sources an hour before bedtime, refrain from caffeine at later hours in the day, and not exercise at later hours in the day. Some good parts of having a good night’s sleep are performing aerobic exercises and strengthening instruction.
The doctor will consider specific medication if the patient has any other conditions contributing to some of the symptoms seen in fibromyalgia. Medications aim to treat the other conditions that may be contributing to these symptoms.
Contact Houston Pain Specialists to find out the best treatment option that will eliminate fibromyalgia pain.