The cause for fibromyalgia remains somewhat of a mystery. This chronic condition is thought to be caused by an error in the way your brain processes pain. Lower levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin or norepinephrine can cause feelings of fatigue or exaggerated pain.
Women are reported to be twice as likely to suffer from fibromyalgia as men. One of the reasons women may be at greater risk is because of factors such as hormonal changes and the potential for higher stress due to menstruation, menopause, or pregnancy. A woman’s natural response to stress can evoke a more severe reaction than their male counterparts. Chronic stress can diminish the immune system’s ability to respond to and fight against diseases over time.
Don’t let symptoms of fibromyalgia decrease the quality of your life. At Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center, our doctors specialize in finding solutions to relieve you of pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Who else is at risk for fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can develop in anyone at any age but is most common in middle-aged adults. People who currently suffer from a neurological disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus are at a higher risk for developing fibromyalgia. Your family history and genetic makeup are additional factors that contribute to your chances of developing the condition. Further, physical and emotional trauma often trigger fibromyalgia by altering your nervous system’s response to pain.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
People who have fibromyalgia tend to experience achy feelings all over their body. It can often feel like tense muscle pain that is followed by extreme tiredness. Women with the disorder might also have complications with premenstrual syndrome and experience more severe lower abdomen and back pain as a result. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Stiffness in limbs
- Sensitivity to changes in temperature, bright light, loud noises
- Facial sensitivity
- Difficulty sleeping
- Issues with memory
These symptoms can get in the way of your ability to work and live your life comfortably. If you suspect that you could have fibromyalgia, visit with one of our doctors at Choice Pain and Rehabilitation Center.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose and can often be mistaken for other conditions with similar symptoms such as hormonal changes during menstruation. One of our experts can help rule out other conditions with similar symptoms via a blood test.
Blood tests can include:
- Thyroid function test
- Vitamin D levels
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Complete blood count
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Rheumatoid factor
Our doctors may also inquire about your previous medical history, current symptoms, and the duration of your pain to accurately diagnose you. If the pain is experienced in many places throughout your body and has remained constant for more than three months, you should consult with one of our specialists as soon as possible.
While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, there are treatments that can help you take back your life through pain management techniques.
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic therapy
- Sleep therapy
Physical therapy is a recommended form of treatment that can help you manage your pain through exercise. If you have a disability or are concerned that being active might increase your pain, try aerobic conditioning instead.
You might also consider behavior modification therapy, which promotes habits for positive thinking while teaching you about various relaxation techniques. Classes are available to those who suffer from chronic conditions and want to learn about navigating their lives with confidence.
It may be a trial-and-error process until you find the best method of pain relief for you, but the once you finally find something that works, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
If you’ve tried everything and still can’t manage your symptoms, medication may help. The FDA has approved prescription medications, such as pregabalin, duloxetine, and milnacipran to prevent frequent flare ups. Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants that control hormones are also known to treat symptoms.
If you suspect that you might have fibromyalgia, call us or request an appointment on our website.