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FIBROMYALGIA: SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT
Fibromyalgia is a condition involving musculoskeletal pain all over the body. Widespread pain is the
most common symptom of fibromyalgia. There may also be fatigue, sleep disturbance, memory and
More women than men are likely to be diagnosed with this disorder.
A known cause for fibromyalgia has yet to be discovered. However, symptoms sometimes begin after
a physical trauma, surgery, infection or emotional stress. DIAGNOSIS
There is no lab test for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Instead, your doctor will note all of your symptoms,
combined with a physical examination to determine a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There are 18 tender
points that are important in diagnosing fibromyalgia. These tender points are
scattered over the body in predictable areas. Pressure on these tender
points will cause superficial pain, located under the surface of the skin. In
addition to the tender points, widespread pain in all four quadrants of the
body must have been present for at least three months with no underlying
condition causing the pain. COMMON SYMPTOMS
Widespread pain is the most common symptom in almost all people with
fibromyalgia. It is this pain that usually prompts a person to schedule an
appointment with a doctor. Because many of the symptoms are present in
other conditions, you may have to see several doctors before a diagnosis can
Other symptoms include:
Fatigue Anxiety Concentration and memory problems Headaches Irritable bowel syndrome Sleep disturbances Depression Painful menstrual cramps Numbness and tingling in hands and feet (paresthesia) Tender points
TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS
Treatments for fibromyalgia include medication, other therapies and making lifestyle changes.
Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol Tramadol (Ultram) prescription pain reliever Advil, Motrin, Aleve Antidepressants or sleep medication to help ease the pain and fatigue and help with
Pregbalin (Lyrica) is often effective in reducing certain types of pain Gabapentin (Neurontin) sometimes is helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms
Physical therapy Application of heat or cold Therapeutic massage Acupuncture
Taking good care of yourself is critical in the management of fibromyalgia. This includes:
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Learning to live with a chronic condition can be challenging. Become educated about your condition. Counseling and support groups can be very helpful in coping with the emotional challenges of having fibromyalgia. And remember, you are not alone. There are many organizations designed to provide information and support, such as the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association at www.fmcpaware.org and the Arthritis Foundation at www.arthritis.org.
Midwest Rehabilitation, P.A.
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