It’s not easy to live with fibromyalgia, and many patients feel discouraged because there is no cure for this chronic health condition. The good news is that treatment options are available that can help by reducing the fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Even though it’s not possible to cure the condition, there are solutions that help patients live their best, pain-free lives. Our team of pain management specialists are here to assist with your personalized treatment plan.
Fibromyalgia: What You Need to Know
According to the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia is “a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.” Often, this condition is misdiagnosed as other chronic diseases, such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more.
The specific symptoms of fibromyalgia will vary, depending on the patient and the severity.
- Generalized fatigue
- Widespread pain – below and above the waist and on both sides of the body
- Challenges with mental focus, memory, and concentration
- Sleep disturbances
- Waking up tired
- Mood issues
When a person is living with fibromyalgia, they find that these chronic symptoms are affecting every aspect of their lives. Even the smallest tasks can seem difficult, making it hard to get through the day.
Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia
Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Or do you suspect you have fibromyalgia but haven’t received a clear diagnosis from a doctor yet?
Multiple risk factors increase the likelihood of a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
- Gender: Women have a higher risk of fibromyalgia compared to men.
- Family: If your family has a history of fibromyalgia, then your risk also increases.
- Overall Health: When a patient has other chronic or immune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus), there is a higher risk of fibromyalgia.
- Respiratory Infections: Some health experts have found that the presence of respiratory infections could be a trigger for fibromyalgia.
- Trauma: Experiencing a physical trauma could be a trigger for fibromyalgia. For example, some people start experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms after a car crash, surgery, or another type of accident.
- Stress: High levels of stress can take a toll on the body and increase the risk of fibromyalgia.
Sometimes, fibromyalgia symptoms set in quickly, especially when triggered by an accident or trauma. But other patients experience a slow onset of symptoms, with no identifiable triggering event.
Why Fibromyalgia Is Hard to Treat
This condition falls in the category of a centralized pain disorder, which means that there is a change in the way neurotransmitters send signals in the spinal cord and brain. So, the treatment process is different compared to standard practices used for acute injuries and other causes of pain.
Instead of masking the symptoms with pain medication, fibromyalgia doctors often include treatments that act on the spinal cord and brain. For example, some medications used for depression also work for fibromyalgia.
What Kind of Doctor Should You Talk to About Fibromyalgia?
Most patients turn to their primary care doctor whenever health concerns arise. While a generalist can assist with regular checkups and common illnesses, they don’t have the knowledge or experience to help with in-depth treatment plans.
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around fibromyalgia. Basic pain medications aren’t sufficient for long-term relief. While a handful of medications can help with fibromyalgia treatment, patients usually succeed with a multi-disciplinary approach.
You need to work with a doctor who understands fibromyalgia and has been working with other patients with this condition. This specialist can help you identify the ideal treatment plan, including a holistic approach that leverages multiple treatments.
You can find many doctors that treat fibromyalgia.
- Pain Management Specialists
When you decide it’s time to visit a pain management clinic, ensure that the team has experience treating patients with fibromyalgia. These clinics treat patients with all forms of pain. Since fibromyalgia is unique, you’ll experience the best results when working with a doctor who has hands-on, relevant experience with fibromyalgia.
How a Pain Management Clinic Treats Fibromyalgia
The challenge with treating fibromyalgia is that no two patients are the same. Each patient experiences unique pain and associated symptoms, and patients with fibromyalgia experience pain differently. This means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment plan.
This condition is challenging to diagnose, making it even harder to treat. If you have these symptoms, one of the best things you can do is visit a pain management clinic for assistance.
At a pain management clinic, fibromyalgia patients meet with multidisciplinary experts who understand the best approaches for reducing the symptoms and helping you enjoy a normal life. Often, a combination of treatments is recommended to alleviate the pain and improve overall function.
Fibromyalgia treatments might include different solutions depending on the patient’s unique needs and symptoms.
- Pain Relievers: Certain over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs can be helpful for immediate pain management. Examples include acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and more. It’s not recommended that patients use opioids or other stronger prescription medications for an extended period.
- Prescription Medications: Some medications for depression can help with fibromyalgia treatments. Additionally, doctors sometimes prescribe sleep medications or muscle relaxers to help patients rest at night.
- Physical Therapy: Some patients benefit from exercises that improve stamina, flexibility, and strength. Water-based activities might be a good solution if exercise is challenging because of the pain.
- Counseling: There are times when stress is associated with increased symptoms. Your pain management team might also include an experienced therapist who can help you navigate stressful situations in life.
- Other Alternative Therapies: One of the benefits of working with a pain management clinic is that the team has a variety of therapies that can be helpful for managing the many symptoms of fibromyalgia. Injections, nerve blocks, and other treatments can be used on an as-needed basis.
- Lifestyle Adjustments: Certain changes at home can have a significant difference in reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Your pain management specialist might talk to you about regular exercise, healthy eating, sleep habits, and stress management to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Best Approach: Lifestyle Changes and Specialized Treatments
Don’t underestimate the power of lifestyle changes to assist with pain management. Many patients find longer-term results when they pair exercise, healthy eating, and stress management as part of their pain management treatment plan.
Additionally, it’s important that you work with an experienced pain management doctor to identify the medical interventions that can offer the benefits you deserve.
Kentuckiana Pain Specialists is just a phone call away. Our professional team is here to assist with comprehensive pain management. Our alternative treatment options are available for your personalized treatment plan. We are located in the Louisville, Kentucky, area. Reach out when you are ready to schedule a consultation: call our office at (502) 995-4004.