Fibromyalgia Pain Management in Knoxville, TNAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4 million Americans are currently living with fibromyalgia. This disorder encompasses a wide range of symptoms that can severely affect a person’s ability to carry out normal daily activities. It was first described as recently as 1976 by Dr. P.K. Hench, with the first official classification not published by the American College of Rheumatology until 1990. To this day, it remains somewhat of a medical mystery with no clear cause, definitive diagnostic test, or universally accepted treatment. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of this debilitating condition and explore the latest views and recommendations regarding its origin and treatment options, which all are provided by Knoxville fibromyalgia specialists at Omega Pain Doctor.
What is fibromyalgia?Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that is characterized by chronic, diffuse all-over body pains and aches. Interestingly, this disorder doesn’t trigger inflammation or cause any structural changes in the body. Although a specific mechanism has not been confirmed, this condition is thought to be a result of the changes in the way the brain processes pain. It could be due to either lowering the pain threshold or overreacting to normal signals.
What causes fibromyalgia?The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not currently clear but there are several factors that may play a role:
- Fibromyalgia seems to be, at least in part, hereditary. Having a relative suffering from this condition increases your risk of developing it. That said, genes alone don’t determine whether you get it or not.
- It often follows a traumatic event. It can be a physical trauma, such as a car accident, or a psychological trauma.
- Stress has been linked to certain hormonal changes that may trigger fibromyalgia
- Infections, such as flu, pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus, and some gastrointestinal infections, have also been linked to fibromyalgia.
How common is fibromyalgia?According to a 2020 review article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, fibromyalgia is the third most common diagnosis in rheumatology clinics and affects 1.3-8% of the general population. It is at least twice as common in women as in men, with some studies reporting that women account for 80-90% of the cases. It most commonly occurs in adults between 30 and 55 years old but children, especially adolescent girls, can also develop the condition.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- Pain in the muscles and other soft tissues all over the body. The pain usually starts in one area and gradually spreads to other parts. It can vary in intensity from mild to severe and be either constant or intermittent.
- Tenderness. The American College of Rheumatology identified 18 tender points on both sides of the body that are particularly sensitive to touch in patients with fibromyalgia.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia report feeling tired all the time. For some patients, this symptom can be more challenging than the pain.
- Sleep problems. Sleep issues include difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking during the night, and waking up unrefreshed.
- Cognitive problems. Many patients with fibromyalgia report the feeling of ‘brain fog’. They experience difficulty with concentration, memory, and thinking.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?There is currently no specific fibromyalgia test that would provide a definitive diagnosis. A doctor will usually take the patient’s medical history and gather information about the nature of the symptoms and how and when they started. Fibromyalgia may be diagnosed in patients that have pain in 6 or more out of 9 specifically defined regions, on both sides of the body above and below the waist, for at least 3 months. It is important to ensure there are no other conditions that may be responsible for the symptoms. Sometimes self-report questionnaires to assess the Widespread Pain Index (WPI) and Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) may be used. In some cases, our Knoxville fibromyalgia doctor might use imaging scans or blood tests to rule out other conditions.
How is fibromyalgia treated?There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, so treatment is focused on symptom management. There are many treatment options, the effectiveness of which may vary depending on an individual and their specific set of symptoms. Doctors will usually recommend a combination of some of the following options:
- Medications specifically approved for treating fibromyalgia that adjust the chemical balance in the brain
- Antidepressants and sleep medications
- Aerobic exercise and strength training, as several studies demonstrated that it can reduce pain levels and improve the quality of life in fibromyalgia patients
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a type of psychotherapy that helps patients cope with pain symptoms by modifying thoughts and attitudes
- Mindfulness and meditation practices, including yoga and massage, to promote relaxation and improve sleep
- Trigger point injections that deliver an anesthetic mixture into the knots in the muscles in order to relax the muscle fibers, reduce the tension, and relieve the pain
ConclusionFibromyalgia is a poorly understood condition that can be challenging to treat. Although it does not cause any deterioration in body tissues, the pain can be persistent and debilitating. For most people, the symptoms do not improve over time. The good news is that it is possible to keep the condition under control by tackling various symptoms with a combination of lifestyle changes, non-pharmacological treatments, and, when necessary, medications. If you are suffering from widespread body pain and fatigue, an important step toward improving your quality of life is contacting a doctor, who will be able to provide a diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan based on your needs.
Fibromyalgia Treatment in Knoxville, TNA big part of living with fibromyalgia is pain management. You’ll want to turn to comprehensive Knoxville fibromyalgia pain specialists. We’re one of the most reputable pain clinics in Knoxville, TN. At Omega Pain Management, we can help you minimize the impact a diagnosis of fibromyalgia has on your life and help you manage your pain effectively. Call Dr. Igor Smelyansky. Phone (865) 337-5137
Maffei ME. Fibromyalgia: Recent Advances in Diagnosis, Classification, Pharmacotherapy and Alternative Remedies. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 23;21(21):7877. doi: 10.3390/ijms21217877. PMID: 33114203; PMCID: PMC7660651.