Fibromyalgia: the basics

By Dr Magdalena Cadet MD.

Dr Magdalena Cadet MD

Fibromyalgia is a common  condition, with a large prevalence in females, that is characterized by chronic and diffuse body pain.  Most patients report these symptoms: – pain at several tender points in the joints and muscles – incredibly painful response to pressure – fatigue – depression – anxiety – inability to sleep These patients may also complain of joint stiffness, headaches, bowel and bladder problems, and numbness or tingling. Patients with these sympotms should also seek evaluation from their health professional for thyroid disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme Disease, Sjorgren’s Syndrome, or Lupus.

Recent studies have found a link between fibromyalgia and abnormal activity of certain hormones including dopamine, serotonin, growth hormone, leptin, and cortisol.Patients should understand that the treatment involves a comprehensive regimen which may include some conventional medication and exercise along side behavorial or psychological counseling for any issues contributing to their depression and anxiety.

Also  the importance of stress reduction with low impact exercise such as swimming, walking,tai chi, and yoga should be emphasized. A recent article on CNN commented on a  study of 53 females  who had decrease in pain, fatigue, stiffness using a weekly two hour yoga regimen comapred to placebo.Yoga may offer these patients enough exercise to keep them moving while also offering breathing exercises, time to meditate, and group interaction which may help the patients cope with pain. Conventional medications used to treat fibromyalgia include: pregabalin. antidepressants, non opiod pain killers and muscle relaxants. Narcotics should not be used because there have been no studies showing any efficacy for pain and these patients may be at risk for narcotic addiction.  Some of these patients may not ever be pain free but a multidisciplinary regimen does help improve some symptoms and quality of life.

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