If you treat patients who suffer from pain, fibromyalgia is probably a term you’re familiar with, if only in passing. Nearly 4% of patients suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common pain syndromes in the world! Female patients are 70% more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than males, but the condition hits everyone. Like neuropathy, fibromyalgia can profoundly impact a patient’s quality of life, from mobility and strength to learning to live with chronic pain. NeuropathyDR® can help you determine whether a patient has fibromyalgia, and is a great resource to learn the best way to treat their symptoms! In Fact, we recently trained our members in a protocol that is showing great promise!
The most common indicator that your patient suffers from fibromyalgia is pain and sensitivity to pressure on their skin. Most patients describe the pain as stabbing and shooting, and it can occur all over the body. Fibromyalgia pain is often worse in the mornings, and can vary based on restlessness and even temperature/humidity.
Neuropathic symptoms very frequently accompany fibromyalgia. Patients may also be experiencing tingling in their extremities, numbness, the sensation of clothing running over their skin when none is there, and difficulty determining hot and cold in addition to the telltale pressure-sensitivity. Of course, these symptoms can themselves contribute to other problems, such as sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, and bladder-control problems.
The true cause of fibromyalgia is a point of some debate, and has never been decisively established; some researchers even point to the lack of physical abnormalities as evidence that it’s a distinct condition. There are commonly-held theories, though, which include:
- Dopamine dysfunction- one of the most common theories explains why fibromyalgia presents so frequently in cases where a patient suffers from restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness. These are conditions which result in part from insufficient dopamine in a certain part of the body. For this reason, researchers generally agree that a dopamine deficiency contributes to fibromyalgia, as well.
- Stress- Fibromyalgia shows up frequently in patients who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fatigue, and depression. This has led many researchers to conclude that there is a distinct link between a patient’s stress level and his or her risk of developing fibromyalgia.
- Genetic predisposition- Recent research has suggested fibromyalgia may also have a genetic component. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
- Physical trauma- Physical trauma can act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, research suggests, since it tends to show up for the first time in many cases where a patient is suffering from an acute illness or injury.
Fibromyalgia is traditionally treated with a variety of medications ranging from simple pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and even dopamine agonists. Since the root cause of fibromyalgia is not entirely understood, treatment with pharmaceuticals is a game of trial and error at best. Understandably, this has led many doctors and researchers, including NeuropathyDR over the past decade to advocate alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments.
Some of the more modern methods for fibromyalgia treatment include exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, adjustments to diet and lifestyle, some forms of electrotherapy, and even massage therapy. Extensive research over the past few years even points to chiropractic adjustments and other manual therpies and acupuncture as potential routes for effective treatment.
NeuropathyDR® promotes newer methodologies for treatment, and discourages medications that could be ineffective, temporary fixes, or even lead to additional complications. Our methods reflect the latest developments for treating the symptoms of neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in ways that are more effective and reliable than dated pharmaceutical techniques.
Every patient who has fibromyalgia experiences different symptoms, so it’s very important that they be evaluated one-on-one with a clinical expert. NeuropathyDR® is an indispensable resource to help you find the best ways to treat fibromyalgia and neuropathy patients; we can help you take the guesswork out! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.