If you suffer from pain, chances are good you’ve heard of fibromyalgia. Nearly 4% of people suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common pain syndromes in the world! Although women are 70% more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, the condition hits everyone. Like neuropathy, fibromyalgia can profoundly impact your quality of life, from mobility and strength to living with chronic pain. If you believe you may have fibromyalgia, as with neuropathy, it is important to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician before your symptoms get worse!
The most common indicator of fibromyalgia is pain and sensitivity to pressure on the skin. Most sufferers describe the pain as stabbing and shooting, and it can occur all over the body. Fibromyalgia pain is often worse in the mornings, and can vary based on restlessness and even temperature/humidity.
Neuropathic symptoms very frequently accompany fibromyalgia. If you suffer from the condition, you may also be experiencing tingling in your extremities, numbness, the sensation of clothing running over your skin when none is there, and difficulty determining hot and cold in addition to the telltale pressure-sensitivity. Of course, these symptoms can themselves contribute to other problems, such as sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, and bladder-control problems.
The true cause of fibromyalgia is a point of some debate, and has never been decisively established; some researchers even point to the lack of physical abnormalities as evidence that it’s a distinct condition. There are commonly-held theories, though, which include:
- Dopamine dysfunction- one of the most common theories explains why fibromyalgia is so frequently found in cases where someone suffers from restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness. These are conditions which result in part from insufficient dopamine in a certain part of the body.
- Stress- Fibromyalgia shows up frequently in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fatigue, and depression. This has led many researchers to conclude that there is a distinct link between stress and developing fibromyalgia.
- Genetic predisposition- Recent research has suggested fibromyalgia may have a genetic component. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
- Physical trauma- Physical trauma can act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, research suggests, since it tends to show up for the first time in many cases where a person is suffering from an acute illness or injury.
Fibromyalgia is traditionally treated with a variety of medications ranging from simple pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and even dopamine agonists. Since the root cause of fibromyalgia is not entirely understood, treatment with pharmaceuticals is a game of trial and error at best. Understandably, this has led many doctors and researchers over the past decade to advocate alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments.
Some of the more modern methods for fibromyalgia treatment include exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, adjustments to diet and lifestyle, electrotherapy, and even massage therapy. Extensive research over the past few years even points to chiropractic and other manual therapies and acupuncture as potential routes for effective treatment.
NeuropathyDR® promotes newer methodologies for treatment, and discourages medications that could be ineffective, temporary fixes, or even lead to additional complications.
Your NeuropathyDR® clinician is an expert in the latest methods of treating the symptoms of your fibromyalgia in ways that are both more effective and more affordable than dated pharmaceutical techniques.
Because everyone who has fibromyalgia experiences different symptoms, it’s very important to have a one-on-one evaluation with someone who really knows the condition. If you’re not seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician, contact us! We can put you in touch with an expert who can help you find the ideal treatment for your specific case.