FAQs on Fibromyalgia Treatment in Houston

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome characterized by diffuse tenderness, fatigue, stiffness, and intense pain in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Though the syndrome primarily affects the shoulders, neck, legs, chest, and lower back, most patients experience pain all over their bodies, which is usually accompanied by episodes of depression, fatigue, sleep disorders, and gastrointestinal problems.

The disorder affects over 6-8 million people in the US, of which 80 percent are women. The syndrome is more common with the 20-40 age group, though it can occur at any age.

What are the symptoms?

Fibromyalgia is often considered a rheumatic condition that weakens the soft tissue and joints, causing intense pain and fatigue. It may interfere with the person’s ability to perform everyday chores.

In addition to pain and fatigue, the syndrome may cause a variety of other symptoms such as:

  • sleep disturbances
  • cognitive and memory problems
  • painful menstruation
  • headaches
  • morning stiffness
  • restless legs syndrome
  • depression
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • sensitivity to light or loud noise
  • temperature sensitivity
  • numbness or tingling of hands and feet

Is it a progressive disorder?

Though fibromyalgia isn’t considered a progressive disorder, some people may experience a gradual worsening of symptoms. However, in most cases, people are able to find ways to reduce their fibromyalgia symptoms.

What causes fibromyalgia?

There is no one cause that could trigger fibromyalgia, but a combination of factors involved. While some people may experience fibromyalgia symptoms due to a stressful traumatic event, many others associate it with repetitive injuries or illness. There are a few who think that their fibromyalgia symptoms occur spontaneously.

Scientists contend that some people with fibromyalgia have a gene that triggers a strong reaction to a stimuli, which some others do not perceive as painful.

Apart from this, viral or bacterial infections, injury or physical trauma, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, immune system abnormalities, sleep disturbances, genetic disposition, increase in certain receptors that are used by the brain to communicate muscle pain and fatigue, hormonal irregularities, or any other related disorder, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or hypothyroidism, are some of the underlying physiological abnormalities that could trigger fibromyalgia-like symptoms in some people.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

A doctor familiar with fibromyalgia symptoms makes a diagnosis based on the criteria listed by the American College of Rheumatology. During the diagnosis, doctors consider the number of areas where the patient often experiences pain. In order to assess the condition, the doctor might request the patient to talk about their history of painful episodes lasting more than 3 months, including other symptoms, such as fatigue and cognitive problems.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, spa baths, relaxing herbals, nerve blocks, and homeopathic medicine, are some of the alternative therapies that have proved effective in reducing the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

Over-the-counter medication treatment is combined with alternative therapy and activities that promote physical movement for best results. Therapies that heal both the mind and the body are especially useful for fibromyalgia treatment. Since sleep disorders are commonly found in fibromyalgia patients, it’s important that the treatment is initially geared toward treating sleep disturbances that could otherwise aggravate the symptoms of the syndrome.

Medications that promote sleep and boost immune system function are primarily given to patients with fibromyalgia symptoms. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Acetaminophen
  • Analgesics
  • Opiate drugs
  • Sleeping aids
  • Membrane stabilizing drugs

Apart from this, trigger point injections, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units, exercise and aquatic therapy,

  • Myers Cocktail IV Infusion Treatment includes administering multivitamins into the bloodstream by a slow IV push.
  • Infusions of Membrane Stabilizing agents are beneficial for healing fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • TENS Unit is predominately used for acute nerve-related pain conditions. The TENS unit is designed to send stimulating pulses across along the nerve strands, helping the body produce endorphins – its natural painkillers. These pulses prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.

It’s important to find a doctor who specializes in treating fibromyalgia patients. The FDA has approved three medications for fibromyalgia, including

  • Milnacipran – Treats depression
  • Duloxetine – FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia
  • Pregabalin – Treats neuropathic pain

Fibromyalgia treatment only offers relief from the pain and fatigue and helps improve quality of sleep, without actually curing the syndrome.