Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood chronic pain condition that significantly impacts your quality of life. The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia — widespread pain, fatigue, sleep problems and mental fogginess — can make it difficult for you to work, exercise, do chores, run errands or spend quality time with family and friends. Additionally, managing constant pain and fatigue can impact your mental health and enjoyment of life.
Keep reading to learn more about what fibromyalgia is, risk factors, symptoms and the treatment options available.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, along with other symptoms. It’s difficult to identify and diagnose because the symptoms often mimic those of other conditions and there’s no single test to confirm a diagnosis. Additionally, the causes of fibromyalgia are not well understood. In fact, in the past many doctors wondered if fibromyalgia was even a real condition, although that stigma has largely faded as more research has been performed. As a result of all these factors, this chronic pain condition is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
Scientists are not completely sure what causes fibromyalgia. One theory is that it’s caused by changes in the way the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) processes pain, leading to increased sensitivity to pain or an overreaction to both painful and non-painful signals. What causes these changes in the brain? Genetics, an infection, a traumatic physical or emotional event (like a car accident), surgery, an autoimmune disorder, a joint or muscle disorder, or stress may be risk factors. In many cases, the onset of fibromyalgia is triggered by one of the events listed above. However, some cases begin without a clear trigger.
Women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia. The prevalence of fibromyalgia among men may be miscalculated because the condition is considered to be a woman’s disease. Other risk factors include a family history, age (middle age), and people who have rheumatic disease (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis). Many people with fibromyalgia have more than one chronic pain condition. It often coexists with migraines and tension-type headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder problems, temporomandibular joint disorders, anxiety and depression, sleep disorders, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms
The defining symptom of fibromyalgia is bone, muscle and soft tissue pain all over the body. The pain is usually described as dull, tender and achy. Other common symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- “Fibro fog” — difficulty concentrating, focusing or staying alert
- Sensitivity to touch, temperature or pressure
- Muscle and joint stiffness
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Painful menstruation (in women)
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and tests to rule out other causes of pain. Because there’s no specific test for fibromyalgia, making an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. Most doctors follow standard guidelines to diagnose fibromyalgia:
- Multisite pain that’s lasted for longer than three months
- Pain accompanied by sleep problems and cognitive problems
- Pain in four of the five regions of pain: left upper region, right upper region, left lower region, right lower region, and axial region
Is Fibromyalgia Treatable?
There’s no cure for fibromyalgia. But treatments are available to help reduce pain, manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. Medications combined with self-care strategies make up a large part of fibromyalgia treatment plans.
- Medications. Pain medications, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications can reduce pain and help you sleep better.
- Therapies. Physical therapy can help you find exercises to retain muscle and joint strength. Occupational therapy can help you make lifestyle adjustments to reduce stress and avoid fatigue.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Counseling or therapy can help you find ways to cope with chronic pain and fatigue, depression and anxiety.
- Alternative therapies. Practices like meditation, yoga, acupuncture and massage therapy may be able to help reduce your pain and stress.
At home, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting good sleep and practicing stress management can help you live with less pain, less fatigue and less stress.
If your fibromyalgia symptoms are significantly affecting your quality of life, and you can’t find relief from the treatments listed above, scrambler therapy may be an option. Scrambler therapy has been used to treat chronic pain conditions that don’t respond well to other treatment methods. The therapy uses multiple, rapidly changing electrical impulses to retrain the brain to accept non-pain signals as the correct information from painful nerve fibers. Scrambler therapy is safe, non-invasive, has no reported side effects and can provide long-lasting pain relief.
Learn More About Scrambler Therapy From Radiant Pain Relief Centres
Radiant Pain Relief Centres exclusively uses scrambler therapy for the treatment of chronic pain conditions. On average, our patients experience an 84% reduction in pain, and more than 90% of our patients conclude therapy with a pain score of zero or near zero.
We have a start-to-finish comprehensive care model, payment plans and financing options that make scrambler therapy accessible and affordable for everyone with chronic pain. We offer a free evaluation and free scrambler therapy session so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not this treatment is right for you before you invest.
Living in constant pain isn’t your only option. Please call us today or submit a contact form for more information.