FIBROMYALGIA

A syndrome that affects the muscles and soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration and memory problems — known as “fibro fog”
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Morning stiffness
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Sleep problems
  • Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Tender points
  • Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency

DIAGNOSIS

Experts say that fibromyalgia is under diagnosed since many of its symptoms are the identical to those of other conditions, such as systemic exertion intolerance disease (formerly called chronic fatigue syndrome), underactive thyroid, Lyme disease, lupus, idiopathic environmental intolerance (formerly known as multiple chemical sensitivity). Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed after ruling out other causes

Physician may do/request:

  • History, Physical & Neurological Exam
    • Determination of the presence of any tender points, a key distinguishing symptom of fibromyalgia
  • Blood test
    • identifies markers produ0ced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. It can also help distinguish fibromyalgia from other conditions that can have similar symptoms

Due of the difficulty in diagnosing fibromyalgia, it is best to see a doctor who is knowledgeable about the condition, such as a rheumatologist. Early diagnosis is key because the earlier fibromyalgia is detected, the sooner you can make lifestyle changes to help reduce the symptoms.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Medicines are part of the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia as they may help break the cycle of pain and sleep problems when symptoms flare up. Not all people with fibromyalgia will need, want, or benefit from medicines. People with more severe pain, sleep problems, or depression that disturbs their daily life may find medicines helpful.

Medicines used for fibromyalgia include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix).
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)-also called mixed (or dual) reuptake inhibitors-such as milnacipran (Savella).
  • Atypical antidepressants. These are drugs that don’t fit well into the general categories of antidepressant medicines. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an example of an atypical antidepressant that is used for fibromyalgia.
  • Anticonvulsants (seizure medicines), such as pregabalin (Lyrica).
  • Often medicines may be combined (such as fluoxetine and amitriptyline) for the most effective treatment of symptoms of pain and sleep disruptions.
  • Prescription pain medicines, such as tramadol (Ultram), are sometimes used. And they are sometimes combined with acetaminophen.
  • Nonprescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen or aspirin) usually aren’t very helpful in treating day-to-day symptoms of fibromyalgia but may be useful in reducing severe pain caused by a flare-up of symptoms.

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