FAQs on Fibromyalgia in Nashville & Murfreesboro TN

Fibromyalgia is a real medical condition that causes widespread pain and soreness to touch. The tenderness associated with fibromyalgia comes and goes, and most people with the condition suffer from chronic fatigue and sleep problems. Employed adults often report missing work, and fibromyalgia is associated with low levels of health-related quality of life.

How common is fibromyalgia?

The overall prevalence of fibromyalgia is around 2%, affecting 5 million U.S. adults. The condition tends to occur more often in women than men (ratio 7:1). Most people are not diagnosed until mid-life, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

As a chronic problem, fibromyalgia causes pain all over the body. Associated symptoms of this condition include:

  • Tenderness to pressure of touch (muscles)
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Waking up tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems

What causes fibromyalgia?

Experts do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but there are some common theories. Certain triggers for the condition include:

  • Genetics, as fibromyalgia tends to run in families.
  • Arthritis, such as spine problems, injury, and arthritis.
  • Emotional stress

Who gets fibromyalgia?

As mentioned before, fibromyalgia tends to be common among women. In addition, middle-aged adults are more likely to suffer this illness. People with rheumatic disease (lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis) often develop fibromyalgia.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

There is a new blood test, the FM/a, that identifies markers produced by the immune system in individuals with fibromyalgia. However, many doctors do not use this test, as there is little evidence to support its accuracy and use. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made based on symptoms and elimination of other diseases and conditions.

How is fibromyalgia treated?

There is no cure for fibromyalgia at present, but the symptoms can be controlled. Treatment options include:

  • Medications – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three drugs for fibromyalgia treatment. These include Cymbalta, Savella, and Lyrica. In addition to these medications, Neurontin is often prescribed to block overactivity of pain nerve cells, and analgesics are commonly used for severe pain.
  • Acupuncture – This traditional Chinese therapy involves the insertion of small, fine needles into the painful trigger points. In a review by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, acupuncture was proven effective for relieving pain when compared to placebo.
  • Botox injections – Used for the treatment of widespread muscle pain, Botox is injected in small quantities. In a study of cervical strain and neck discomfort, Botox was proven to relieve pain and improve range of motion. One recent clinical trial proved that Botox was more effective than placebo for relieving pain and improving symptoms.
  • Trigger point injection (TPI) – Many people with fibromyalgia benefit from TPIs. The doctor inserts tiny needles into the painful tender spots on the body, which inactivates pain. One study showed that TPIs were 98% effective for reducing pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
  • TENS – Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation involves a small device that is worn on the body. Electrodes connected to the device deliver pulses of electric current near the spinal cord. These pulses prevent transmission of pain signals from nerves to the brain. In 2012, researchers reported a success rate of TENS as 70-90%.

Resources

Claus DJ (2007). Fibromyalgia: update on mechanisms and management. J Clin Rheumatology, 13(2),102-9.

Dhadwal, N, Hangan, MF, Dyo, FM, Zeman, R, & Li, J (2013). Tolerability and efficacy of long-term lidocaine trigger point injections in patients with chronic myofascial pain. International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Howard KJ, Mayer TG, Neblett R, Perez Y, Cohen H, & Gatchel RJ (2010). Fibromyalgia syndrome in chronic disabling occupational musculoskeletal disorders: Prevalence, risk factors, and post-treatment outcomes. J Occup Environ Med, 52(12), 1186-91.

Jacques L, Jensen T, Rollins J, Burton B, Hakim R, & Miller S (2012) Decision Memo for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Low Back Pain (CAG-00429N). tinyurl.com/ decisionmemoTENS

Smith HS, Audette J, & Royal MA (2002). Botulinum toxin in pain management of soft tissue syndromes. Clin J Pain, 18(6 Suppl), S147-54.