A Quick Overview of Fibromyalgia
Due to the body-wide pain and tenderness that are hallmarks of fibromyalgia, this autoimmune medical condition can become chronic and even lead to disability. Researchers estimate that roughly five million people in the United States struggle with fibromyalgia. Most of these are women who were first diagnosed during their 40s and 50s, though men and children can also have the disease.
Widespread muscle pain and tenderness that affects areas both below and above the waist, as well as both the left and right sides of the body, is the primary symptom associated with fibromyalgia. There is a wide range of variations in the level of this pain ranging from mild to severe enough that performing daily activities is challenging or even impossible. Some people describe this pain as tender or aching. Others say the pain feels like it is radiating throughout their body or a certain area or that it is a shooting pain.
There are also other symptoms that many people with fibromyalgia experience. These are independent of the body-wide pain and tenderness that is the main sign of the disorder. Lower back pain, frequent headaches, arthritis and muscle spasms top the list of other symptoms. In addition, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, restless leg syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome are often noted by people who have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is also known for having flares that can be sometimes triggered by other events. These flares result in an increase in the pain, and often the fatigue, that marks fibromyalgia. Increased physical activity, illness, weather changes, traveling, temperature changes and disruptions in sleep can all lead to a flare in symptoms. In some cases, though, these flares aren’t associated with a particular trigger so they can be difficult to prevent.
Common Fibromyalgia Treatments
Fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disorder, isn’t completely understood yet by scientists and doctors. At this time, it cannot be cured, though its symptoms can be addressed. Treatment tends to focus on relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but there is no one treatment that addresses all of them.
A physician typically turns to medications like pain relievers that can be purchased over-the-counter as a starting point. In some cases, a prescription pain reliever might be suggested, but narcotics are typically not used. These can lead to dependence and could make the pain worse. Antidepressants and anti-seizure medications have also been successful at addressing the pain, fatigue and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia
Other treatments for fibromyalgia focus on improving a person’s general health and wellbeing. There are a number of alternative treatments that can make a difference in the overall way that an individual feels including yoga, massage therapy, tai chi and acupuncture. Occupational therapy and physical therapy have also proven beneficial. Counseling can provide coping skills and strategies for dealing with stress that can be helpful.
BackFit Spine + Health excels in applying holistic treatments to their patients, including those with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia. Learn more about how we can help by scheduling a consultation today.