Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Rough Road For Fibromyalgia Patients (Part 2)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, the road to correct diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia is very difficult and can take years to figure out.  Once patients actually enter a doctor’s office to report fibromyalgia-like symptoms, doctors look out for the following hallmarks of the disorder: 

1)   Continuing pain symptoms in 18 trigger/tender points of the body
2)   Pain all over—not just on one side or above/below the waist
3)   Pain must have persisted for over three months to be considered chronic

Unfortunately, there is no known specific cause for fibromyalgia.  One theory is that the brain of fibromyalgia patients cannot properly regulate pain signals and receptors.  The fact that fibromyalgia paint also frequently occurs with other disorders, such as chronic fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, mood disorders, and sleep disorders (Pain Pathways, Spring 2011, page 64) also is consistent with the idea that the brain and spinal cord cannot properly regulate pain.  The condition also seems to have a “trigger” when the painful symptoms start, such as a period of extreme stress, illness, or injury.

Treatment options for sufferers of fibromyalgia often have to be multimodal to be effective.  Some of the most common combinations of treatment include medication, a diet and exercise schedule, and stress reduction techniques.  Currently, three drugs are approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia—Cymbalta, Savella, and Lyrica.  Many fibromyalgia patients also join support groups, not only to socialize with people in similar situations, but also to get tips and recommendations on how to best treat their condition.  Since the triggers and symptoms of fibromyalgia are so varied, treatment techniques are also equally as variable.  

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information on him and his firm, please click here.    

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