Pain can be one of the most difficult conditions that anyone will have to deal with. Whether it is a symptom of an injury or illness, or whether it is inexplicable and chronic, pain is never easy to endure. People who suffer from chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia know this best of all, as they have to manage acute pain on a daily basis.
In honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, Victoria ER wants to shine a light on this mysterious, chronic condition that many people suffer from. What are the symptoms? Is it treatable? And, perhaps most importantly, what can be done for the pain?
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia is a condition that results in widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep issues, mood swings, and even memory problems. It is a condition that researchers believe amplifies painful sensations and alters the way your brain processes neurological sensors of pain.
What does this mean for people who have Fibromyalgia? Well, their symptoms can look a lot like the following:
- Widespread Pain: Fibromyalgia flare-ups can be described as constant, dull aching which persists three months or more. This pain can spread all over the body, it is not limited to one area.
- Fatigue: No matter how long and well they slept, many patients with Fibromyalgia will awaken feeling tired. This is usually caused by the chronic pain, as it is exhausting for the body to be aching nonstop. Pain can also interrupt sleep, so people with Fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping through the night and can develop sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and Restless Leg Syndrome.
- Cognitive Difficulties: Many people call it “fibro fog” because cognitive difficulties are so common in Fibromyalgia patients. Chronic pain makes it hard for people to concentrate and can make patients more likely to suffer migraines, which only makes the “fibro fog” worse.
- Co-Existing Conditions: Fibromyalgia is a condition defined by pain, and it can often be found alongside other painful health conditions. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome), and Temporomandibular joint disorders can all be conditions that occur alongside Fibromyalgia.
If you or a loved one finds that they suffer with these symptoms, then it would be a good idea to see a doctor and get a diagnosis.
Can Fibromyalgia be treated?
Understanding how to treat Fibromyalgia means that we first need to understand how this complex condition begins in the first place. This disease begins with the nervous system. Researchers believe that Fibromyalgia is caused by increased levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which begin to signal pain too often or too strongly. This can be caused by genetics, complications from infections, or physical or emotional trauma.
With a condition that has no single cause, treatment might differ from patient to patient. Doctors who work with Fibromyalgia tend to prescribe a combination of medication and therapy. Given that there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, it is important for physicians and patients to work together to find a long-term treatment plan that is healthy and effective.
The most common medications prescribed are pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. Pairing this with the most common therapy plans–physical therapy, occupational therapy, and emotional counseling– many doctors find that managing the symptoms, as well as the most likely source for the pain, are the most effective methods. For patients whose Fibromyalgia stems from hormonal imbalances that are caused by genetics, a doctor might prescribe occupational therapy and medication that will balance out the chemicals in the patient’s brain. On the other hand, for a Fibromyalgia patient whose pain is triggered by emotional trauma, a doctor will be more inclined to prescribe antidepressants and focus on counseling.
Fibromyalgia is a mysterious condition, but it is one that can be managed if treated. Patients find help for their chronic, widespread pain every day, and facilities like Victoria ER offer special pain management programs to help patients of chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia. Our 23-hour Observation Care program is tailored to help you manage extreme pain. If you or a loved one is suffering, please reach out to find help near you.
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