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Fibromyalgia

Whether you are experiencing painful tender points, chronic headaches, deep muscle pain, unending back pain, or neck pain, you know what it is to have fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia feel pain in ways no one else can really understand.

Symptoms

Fibromyalgia-related pain is pain that causes you to ache all over. You may have painful “trigger points,” places on your body that cause discomfort no matter what medication you take. Your muscles can feel like you just had a strenuous workout even though you haven’t exercised. Or your muscles will twitch. Sometimes they will burn or ache with deep stabbing pain. Some patients comment that they have aches and pains around the joints in their neck, shoulders, back, and hips. This kind of pain makes it difficult to sleep or exercise

Acute pain comes on suddenly and can be intense. For instance, think about how suddenly your back can ache after you’ve bent down to lift a heavy package or a child. Yet, in nearly 80% of the cases, acute pain goes away in about two weeks. It runs its course and goes away. Pain from a strained muscle that lasts only a few days or weeks is considered acute.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts much longer than someone would normally expect based on the original problem or injury. However, when the pain becomes chronic, our bodies react in several ways. This pain can be associated with abnormalities in low energy, brain hormones, muscle pain, mood disorders, and impaired mental and physical performance. The chronic pain worsens as neurochemical changes in your body increase your sensitivity to pain. You may begin to have pain in other parts of the body that do not normally hurt.

What Are Fibromyalgia’s Tender Points?

Tender points are localized areas of tenderness typically above muscles, tendons or bones that hurt when they are pressed. Tender points are not areas of deep pain, but are superficial areas ostensibly under the surface of the skin, such as over the elbow or shoulder. People with fibromyalgia often have 11 or more out of 18 total tender points.

Fibromyalgia’s chronic pain seems like it will never end. The ongoing headaches, aching joints, neck pain, and painful tender points can prevent sleep, causing you to awaken frequently at night. The chronic loss of sleep results in increased achiness, morning stiffness, and daytime fatigue.

Because there is no effective treatment or medication for the fibromyalgia, the overwhelming feelings can lead to irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, social isolation, and depression.

Treatment

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise and fitness program focusing on aerobic exercise
  • Stress-relief methods, including light massage and relaxation techniques with cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medicine should be used along with exercise and behavior therapy. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), pregabalin (Lyrica), and milnacipran (Savella) are medications that are approved specifically for treating fibromyalgia.
  • Percutaneous nerve stimulation (NIPP)
However, many other drugs are also used to treat the condition, including:
  • Anti-seizure drugs (gabapentin and Lyrica)
  • Other antidepressants (Savella)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain relievers (Tramadol)
Other treatment options
  • Support groups may also be helpful.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and avoiding caffeine
  • Practice good sleep routine and hygiene
  • Acupressure and acupuncture

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