Frequently Asked Questions
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Abnormal pain messages
Chemical imbalances which regulate mood, appetite, sleep, behavior and stress responses.
Possible triggers. These include an injury, viral infection, giving birth, breakdown of a relationship, being in an abusive relationship, death of a loved one.
What is the prognosis for Fibromyalgia?
is not a progressive disease.
is never fatal
will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.
What is the difference between Fibromyalgia and Arthritis?
RA can impair your muscles and joint, while the pain from fibro does not damage them.
Fibro patients have trouble sleeping while RA patients do not.
RA is slowly progressive, while fibro is episodic.
Without treatment, RA symptoms worsen. Serious cases can damage major organs.
If your joints are red and swollen, you have RA.
How to obtain relief for Fibromyalgia?
Dealing with chronic pain can drag you down physically and emotionally. It can make your quality of life much less than it should be.
Here are several things you can do to help you feel better:
Have a massage. A massage can help alleviate aches and pains and make you feel brand new again. Use a massage therapist who understands your chronic pain and who can do their job without exacerbating any of your pain. There are many types of massage therapy, some of which are better for chronic pain than others, a professional will know exactly what to do.
What are Fibromyalgia symptoms?
Feeling anxious or depressed
Call Your Doctor About Fibromyalgia If:
You have chronic muscle pain and overwhelming fatigue.
How To obtain relief (Part 4)?
Use a TENS Unit. This stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It involves overriding the pain signals with electrical signals applied to the affected area. You can wear it as much as you need to without having to take medications. TENS units are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at a medical supply store or over the internet without a prescription.
Get a nerve block. If a certain area is in pain, an anesthesiologist can give you a nerve block that can relieve the pain for several days or weeks. This can be just the relief from pain you need to live a healthier life—at least for a while. Sympathetic nerve blocks can be used for things like reflex sympathetic dystrophy in which a body part is in extreme pain despite having undergone a minor injury. Ask your doctor.
Practice daily stretching. Stretching exercises can improve your circulation and can lessen the tension in your muscles. Try stretching each morning before you get out of bed in order to start your day off right. Stretch also before you do any type of exercise to avoid getting any kind of injury during the exercise.
Use a cane or walker. This can relieve chronic pain, especially if you are suffering from some type of arthritis. They can lessen the load on your joints and can help you get around more safely. Practice with a physical therapist so you can safely use these devices around the house or as you go about your day.
Try acupuncture. This is an ancient Asian technique in which special needles are used to relieve pain in various body areas. Acupuncture is a way of mobilizing qi energy through specific acupoints in the body so that pain in various parts of your body can be relieved. Seek the advice of a qualified acupuncturist who understands the concept of qi and the ways acupuncture can be used to deal with chronic pain.
Try acupressure. This is a less invasive way at mobilizing qi and relieving chronic pain. There are specialists in acupressure who can push on various parts of your body to improve the flow of qi and lessen your perception of chronic pain. You can practice acupressure on yourself or have a specialist in acupressure use this type of technique on you.
Try reflexology. This involves pushing on the soles of your feet and putting pressure on specific areas corresponding to parts of your body that are in pain. This can relieve pain without using anything that is invasive. There are reflexologists in the same places that do massage therapy or you can learn reflexology from a book or DVD.
Listen to music. Music is the greatest soother of all aches and pains. Put on something that puts your mind onto some other topic besides pain. Put together a playlist that incorporates some of your favorites and sit back to listen to it when you have pain. Music is not just good for the soul. It also helps you become distracted from your pain.
Go swimming. Swimming is the best exercise for people who have chronic pain it provides very little impact on the joints and yet strengthens the muscles. You can swim every day, so join a health club, but make sure to choose one with a warm pool that will be easier on your joints.
Recognize your emotions. Chronic pain isn’t all about nerve fibers and brain signals. Your emotions play a big role in how you deal with chronic pain. When you can get a hold of your emotions, you can better understand how they play a role in your perception of pain. Recognize when things like anger or anxiety result in an increase in the perception of pain and do what you can to get a hold of these emotions.
How to obtain relief (Part 3)?
Practice sensory splitting. This is a mental technique in which you focus away from your pain and toward some other part of your senses. If, for example, you feel a hot pain down your leg, concentrate on the sensation of heat rather than on the sensation of pain. Sensory splitting can be applied to both chronic pain and acute exacerbations of chronic pain.
Learn dissociation. Dissociation is a way of separating your mind from your body so you don’t have access as much to the pain. This can be learned in such a way that you can keep yourself from experiencing the pain. Dissociation comes naturally to some people but can be taught by a psychotherapist who understands the process.
Practice altered focus. This involves focusing your mind on a part of your body that is not hurting. Think of the warmth of your hand and let your mind focus on that rather than on the experience of pain in another part of your body. You can learn this technique yourself or from a pain specialist or psychotherapist.
Use an ice pack. Ice to the affected areas of pain can reduce inflammation and can relieve pain. Use an ice pack for thirty minutes at a time for pain relief and then let the body part rest for thirty minutes before putting ice on again. Ice is especially good for pain relief in those situations where inflammation is behind the source of the pain.
Use a heating pad. If any of your pain is from muscle spasm, the application of heat can relieve the spasm and can warm aching joints. Don’t put the heat on too high because it can burn your skin. Alternatively, you can put a towel or cloth between the heating pad and the skin overlying the area of pain. Heat can be applied for thirty minutes at a time before cooling the area to room temperature or using ice as a way of alternating with pain relief through heat.
Practice silent counting. When the pain is severe, count your breaths from one to ten or backwards from ten. Let your muscles loosen as you count until your pain is back to tolerable levels. This is one of several mental techniques that will put you in charge of your pain instead of the other way around.
Stay hydrated. Experts believe that if you are dehydrated, it can interfere with your perception of pain. Keep a water bottle close by and constantly sip some all day long. Drink until your urine is a light straw color. Water is the best hydration method to use. Do not use anything that contains caffeine as this ultimately causes dehydration and will not help you stay hydrated.
Limit inflammatory foods. There are some foods that can enhance your perception of pain. These include nightshade vegetables (eggplant and tomatoes), junk food, citrus fruits, high fat meat, wheat, red wine, coffee, tea, and soda. Instead, stick to foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, like fish containing omega 3 fatty acids, whole grains (except wheat), dark leafy greens, nuts, soy products, and low fat dairy products.
Eat more turmeric. This spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Use it in recipes so you can have less pain. Turmeric contains curcumin, which decreases the amount of inflammation in your body. Look up recipes that contain turmeric or make up some recipes of your own. It really is a very versatile spice.
Maintain good posture. You can alleviate some of your pain by maintaining good posture. Good posture keeps your muscles and joints in proper alignment so that you feel less chronic pain. If you instead curve your back into a C-shape, it puts extra pressure on your spine and sets up a situation where you will feel spinal pain.
Try physical therapy. Physical therapists can evaluate your pain and can help you through tailored exercise to help you control your pain and strengthen your body. Physical therapists can teach you ways to get ahold of your pain without taking medications. It usually involves exercises that loosen muscle tension and increase muscle strength around arthritic joints.
How To obtain relief (Part 2)?
See a psychotherapist. Various kinds of psychotherapy can help you cope with chronic pain. Things like cognitive behavioral therapy can help you reframe your thoughts so you don’t see your pain in such a negative light and encourage positive thinking that changes your perception of your life as a result of pain, thereby improving your quality of life.
Take a long bath. The warm water of a sudsy bath can ease aches and pains and can help you function better in your daily life. Use a loofa sponge to massage your body and take your time to really let the heat of the water go deep into your muscles and joints. Add a few drops of calming essential oils, such as lavender essential oil, which add to the relaxation and sense of peace.
Read a good book. Take the time to rest and read about something light and refreshing. It can allow your mind to go to other places instead of focusing on your chronic pain. Choose books that you find interesting to take your mind off your discomfort. Books can be a best friend to those suffering from chronic pain syndromes.
Decrease stress in your life. Anytime you are dealing with stress, this can increase your perception of chronic pain. Your best way of doing this is to remove things from your life that cause you stress to improve your pain tolerance and your overall health and immune system functioning. If you can’t actually get rid of the stressor, use some of the other stress-relieving techniques described, like meditation, Tai Chi, and relaxation.
Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol can interfere with a normal sleep pattern so that you may suffer from insomnia or wake up too early in the morning. Good sleep is essential to dealing with chronic pain. Keep your alcohol intake down to about 1-2 alcoholic beverages per day and try not to drink right before bedtime.
Set a regular sleep pattern. Go to sleep at the same time every night and awaken at the same time every morning. Keep your sleeping environment as soothing as possible so you sleep well. When you are sleeping, you can allow your body to regenerate itself so you have less pain when you wake up in the morning. If needed, use a white noise machine that can get rid of extraneous noises in your environment.
Quit smoking. Smoking affects your circulation and can wreak havoc on those who have chronic pain. When your circulation is good, your joints and muscles can heal better and you can live better without chronic pain. If you are a heavy smoker, you may need to seek a doctor’s advice about ways to gradually cut down and eventually break the habit.
Keep a pain log. Buy a diary and keep track of triggers and other things that precipitate pain. You can share your findings with your doctor so as to figure out a plan for handling those things that cause the pain to become worse. Reflect on your pain log to see if you can determine which things cause your pain to become worse and avoid those things in your life.
Try hypnosis. Hypnosis can relax your mind and can help you reduce your perception of pain. See a reputable hypnotherapist who specializes in chronic pain. You can learn self-hypnosis from them and use what you learn in your everyday use. You can also learn self-hypnosis from CDs or DVD.
Study biofeedback. Biofeedback can lessen stress and can decrease your perception of chronic pain. You can learn ways to relax your muscles and tendons so that you can be pain free without any medications. Biofeedback is usually taught by physicians or physical therapists who understand the process and have the necessary equipment.
Practice distraction. Instead of focusing on your pain, engage in an activity you enjoy that can leave you concentrating on just about anything but the pain you are in. Develop a hobby that you enjoy and that doesn’t put too much stress on your level of pain. Coloring can be a soothing hobby that doesn’t result in any pain. You can buy adult coloring books on line or at certain craft stores.
What are Fibromyalgia symptoms in men?
Fibromyalgia symptoms may appear differently in men than in women. People have always considered fibromyalgia symptoms to be milder in men than in women.
In reality, they may be as widespread in both genders, and recent studies indicate that the severity of symptoms may be the same in all people.
A 2017 report says that men may be less likely to consult a doctor than women. They may also feel stigmatized as “wimpy,” “whiney,” or “lazy,” when they complain of fibromyalgia symptoms, such as tiredness and muscle pains.
The report’s author says that remaining undiagnosed may make disability claims from employers harder for men to access than women.
Also, the impact of less available support may impact a family if a man rather than a woman is a primary income provider.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia in men can range from mild to debilitating. They may vary from person-to-person and can include:
- pain and tenderness
- morning muscle stiffness
- irritable bowel symptoms
- brain fog
When to see a doctor
Fibromyalgia symptoms can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions. If the symptoms are not severe, it can be hard to know when to see a doctor.
If a man thinks he may have the symptoms of fibromyalgia, he should seek medical advice, to rule out other conditions.
If the symptoms worsen or change, it is also a good idea to tell the physician as they may wish to change the treatment.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
How to Find a Doctor That Treats Fibro?
Get in touch with a fibromyalgia support group either locally or online and ask which doctors other members recommend or not. To find a support group visit the National Fibromyalgia Association website at fmaware.org
If you live outside the USA, look for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain Associations near you for more information.
Talk to people who suffer from other immune deficiency disorders such as those with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., and ask which physicians they see.
Search for a specialist online by entering the name of your city plus “fibromyalgia specialist” or “fibromyalgia doctor” as the keywords in your browser.
Visit the National Fibromyalgia Association website at my.WebMD.com for listings of doctors.
Contact your insurance company to find out which physicians will accept your insurance plan.
Continue your search until you find a fibromyalgia specialist you are comfortable with and have confidence in. Remember, it’s up to you to find the right specialist for you.
To determine the legitimacy of a doctor you can do the following: Search ama-assn.org to check they are part of the Medical Association in your country.
Before your first appointment make a list of important questions you want to ask such as how many fibromyalgia patients he/she treats, what treatment options they use and what the success rates are for relieving symptoms.