Science based chiropractor, Dr. Alex Jimenez has treated numerous types of injuries and conditions. Dr. Jimenez knows how fibromyalgia works and understands the best option to take to achieve overall relief from pain, fatigue and discomfort.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects millions of Americans annually, which are mostly women. The disorder is physically and emotionally debilitating. Fibromyalgia comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek words for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Fibromyalgia sufferers experience chronic muscle pain.
Fibromyalgia was once considered a mental disorder, but research has shown that individuals with the condition may have a lower threshold for pain. This might be from emotional trauma, and/or unbalanced chemical levels in the brain and spinal cord which, are connected to pain sensitivity, but the specific cause is still unclear.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. This pain is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe it amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms can begin after infection, physical trauma, surgery, or psychological stress. With other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no one triggering event.
Women develop fibromyalgia more than men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and tension headaches.
There is still no cure for fibromyalgia, but a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction can also help.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other painful conditions:
A person may have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions:
It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.
Doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but more than likely involves a variety of factors that work together. These may be:
Scientists estimate that it affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed are women. However, men and children can also have the disorder. Most are diagnosed during middle age.
Risk factors include:
The pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with an individual’s ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with this misunderstood condition can result in depression and anxiety.
Scientists believe that repeated nerve stimulation is what causes the brain to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of chemicals that signal pain (neurotransmitters). Therefore, the brain’s pain receptors develop memory of the pain and become more sensitive, which is why they overreact to pain signals.
A fibromyalgia diagnosis can be made if a person has had widespread pain for more than three months. This is with no underlying medical condition which, could cause the pain.
Unfortunately, there is no lab test to confirm a diagnosis, a doctor may want to rule out any other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Blood tests may include:
Treatment include both medication and self-care. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. No one treatment works for all symptoms. The type of treatment needed will depend on the symptoms. For example, a physician may prescribe an antidepressant to reduce pain and to also address depression. If worried or have trouble sleeping, an exercise program could help.
Medications can help reduce pain and improve sleep. Common medications include:
A variety of different therapies can help reduce the effect that fibromyalgia has on the body. Examples:
Self-care is critical.
Complementary and alternative therapies for pain and stress management aren’t new. Some, such as meditation and yoga, have been practiced for thousands of years. But their use has become more popular in recent years, especially with people who have chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.
Several of these treatments do appear to safely relieve stress and reduce pain, and some are gaining acceptance in mainstream medicine. But many practices remain unproved because they haven’t been adequately studied.
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