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Fibromyalgia

The Rochester Regional Health Spine and Pain Center offers evaluation and treatment services for fibromyalgia, which is a condition characterized by aching and pain in muscles, tendons, and joints all over the body, especially along the spine. 

Learn more about fibromyalgia, common symptoms, and how our expert team evaluates and treats this condition below.

What is Fibromyalgia? 

Fibromyalgia, also called FM, FMG, or FMS, is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. In many people suffering from fibromyalgia, there are measurable changes in their body chemistry - changes that may be responsible for certain symptoms. 

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but there are many theories about why people get it. One theory suggests that stress contributes to the onset - typically, the stresses in a person's life at onset tend to be prominent. As we know, stress often results in disturbed sleep patterns and a lack of restful sleep. And, when you do not get enough sleep, your body doesn't produce the chemicals necessary to control or regulate pain. A lack of these pain-regulating chemicals results in tenderness in the upper back and forearms, leading to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Physical and emotional factors may also contribute to the onset of fibromyalgia. For example, a physical illness - such as an infection - could cause changes in your body chemistry that can lead to pain and sleeplessness.

Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

People who suffer from fibromyalgia usually experience worse pain when they are trying to relax, and the pain is less noticeable during busy activities or exercise. Other symptoms include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Depression
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sensitivity to light, odors, and sound

Women tend to have fibromyalgia more often than men.

Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

A complete and careful evaluation of your medical history and a physical examination, including a review of symptoms, will help your Spine and Pain Center provider determine if you have fibromyalgia. This will also help exclude other illnesses with similar symptoms - such as rheumatoid arthritis, muscle inflammation, and bursitis - from contention.

Fibromyalgia Treatment

If you have fibromyalgia, you will receive individualized treatment based on several factors, including overall health, medical history, severity of pain, and the presence of other symptoms.

Treatment options include: 

  • Medications that decrease pain and improve sleep
  • Lifestyle changes, including stress reduction
  • Exercises to improve cardiovascular health
  • Relaxation techniques to relieve muscle tension

Medications that increase restful sleep, such as low doses of antidepressant drugs, may help. Research has shown that other forms of sleeping medication are rarely helpful for those with fibromyalgia.

Currently, there are no medications that completely relieve the pain associated with fibromyalgia. However, acetaminophen is both helpful and far safer than other analgesics (pain-relieving medications).

Participating in aerobic exercise for half an hour, three times each week is an important step toward improving fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise increases heart and lung function and stretches sore, tight muscles.

When deciding to start an exercise program, walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics are great starting points. Your Spine and Pain Center provider can help you choose a program that is right for you.

To learn more about fibromyalgia or to make an appointment, call (585) 723-7705.

 

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