Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is an ailment categorised by extensive musculoskeletal pain escorted by fatigue, insomnia, migraine, and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia intensifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. A person with fibromyalgia feels pain – even when he is not sick or injured, and suffering does not go away. Fibromyalgia is a pervasive long-lasting chronic disorder affecting your muscles and bone, yet it is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.

Causes of fibromyalgia are not well-known. A variety of factors are involved in its etiology, which may include genetic factors, infections, and arthritis. Physical or emotional trauma like an accident, rape, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, cervical stenosis, and less physical exercise can also be the cause of fibromyalgia.

Symptoms 

The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be mild or severe. A person becomes more sensitive to pain stimuli and feels great pain in his muscle, tissues, and fascia. Some of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia include; 

  • Chronic fatigues syndrome
  • Joint fitness
  • Irritable bowel movement 
  • Headache
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in body parts 
  • Dryness of mouth, eyes, and nose
  • Abdominal pain, chest pain, muscle pain and tenderness throughout your body
  • Sleep distractions and disordered thinking 
  • Anxiety, depression, difficulty in concentrating and memory lapses
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, heat, cold

Treatment Options

Your treatment plan may include one or more of the non-surgical or surgical treatments described below.

Treatment 

Patients with fibromyalgia are treated with both medications and self-care. The target is to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment can vary from person to person. 

Non-Surgical Treatment

Different treatments are applied to reduce the suffering and provide relief from pain. Some of the standard procedures followed to assist with the constant pain include;

  • Medication – Different types of pain relievers like naproxen sodium and ibuprofen are given to patients. Anti-depressants (such as duloxetine and milnacipran) and anti-seizer drugs (e.g., Gabapentin) help ease the pain and fatigue. Health care providers do not recommend narcotics.
  • Therapy and exercise – Physical therapy and exercise help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and stamina. Many patients find it very difficult to do regular exercise as they feel tired all the time. However, aerobic exercise not only improves pain, but the physical functions of the body. Therefore, starting slow and sticking to exercise daily is very important.
  • Herbal treatment – Different herbs like echinacea, black cohosh, cayenne, and Ashwagandha are given to fibromyalgia patients. These herbs are non-toxic and help the body resist stress and promote sleep at night. 

Surgical treatment

In the case of obesity or any structural abnormality, surgery is performed. Otherwise, surgical procedures are not effective. The surgical procedures of choice include;

  • Occipital nerve stimulation – It is a neuromodulation technique and uses to treat various types of headaches, but it is still under study.  
  • Cervical decompression – It is a decompression operation performed on either the base of the brain or the cervical spine. Nerve decompression may help relieve pain and muscle stiffness in the affected areas. 

Dr Ayman Eissa
MBBCh, MSc, MD, FRCA, FMFPRCA

Ayman is a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and is also a specialist in the management of chronic pain in adults.

01709 464200

enquiries@kinvarahospital.co.uk 

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