I hurt all over and I have no energy!
In the Spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and lupus after having complained of constant pain for almost a year. I had been told the pain was just sore muscles, or the pain was just after effects from several surgeries, and I was referred by two doctors to talk to a psychiatrist about the problem. I did.
I was told by my psychiatrist that one of the doctors had written him a letter suggesting I may be an addict looking for pain medications. I realize that some people may try that to obtain drugs, but for a medical doctor to assume I was an addict without properly testing and ruling out any underlying disorders was not only unethical but criminal as well.
I felt compelled to include the following information on my site. I hope it helps someone to understand the difficulties of dealing with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose, but if you hurt all over and have absolutely no energy, consult a doctor, preferably a rheumatologist as they deal with this type of illness and are better able to diagnose the symptoms.
Allow no one to tell you .. "It's all in your head".
Find a doctor that will listen to you and persevere until the symptoms are under control.Definition of Fibromyalgia
~ Rion ~
A common rheumatic syndrome indicating widespread pain in fibrous tissues, muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues, resulting in painful muscles without weakness. Fatigue may also be present.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia includes a history of a least three months of widespread pain, and pain in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites.
These tender-point sites include fibrous tissue or muscles of the:
The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing pain at defined tender points, which are not the same as trigger points. Tender points hurt only when pressed. Trigger points can be tender locally and lead to traveling or spreading pain.
- rib cage
- lower back
- arms (elbows)
The soft tissue pain is described as departing, radiating, gnawing, shooting, or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to waken with body aches and stiffness. Pain is usually mild in the morning and often increases again during the evening. Pain can increase with activity; cold, damp weather; anxiety; and stress.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
The cause of this disorder is unknown. Possible causes can include physical or emotional trauma. One hypothesis suggests that the disorder may be associated with changes in craniofacial and skeletal muscle metabolism, such as decreased blood flow, which could cause chronic fatigue and weakness.
Another hypothesis is that an infectious microbe, such as a virus, triggers the illness. At this point, no virus or microbe has been identified.
Pilot studies have shown a possible inherited tendency toward the disease.
The disorder has an increased frequency among women 20 to 50 years old. The incidence is 9 out of 1,000 people.
There is no proven prevention for this disorder.
Signs and Tests:
Multiple tender areas (muscle and joint pain) on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hip, shin, elbows, or knees. Fatigue. Sleep disturbances. Body aches. Reduced exercise tolerance. Chronic facial muscle pain or aching.
A number of tests may be done to rule out other disorders. An examination reveals multiple tender areas on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hip, shin, elbows, or knees.
A dolorimeter, an instrument that distributes pressure over a specific area, is sometimes used to gain data about patients and their individual sites of pain.
Other underlying ailments, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis, can also be present. New patients should be checked for these underlying conditions as well as fibromyalgia.
In mild cases, symptoms may go away when stress is decreased. Treatment includes patient education, physical therapy, and counseling. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have found support groups helpful.
Low-dose tricyclic antidepressant medications or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes prescribed. Studies show that antidepressants, in low doses, can decrease depression, relax craniofacial and skeletal muscles, improve sleep quality, and release pain-killing endorphins.
No special diets are recommended at this time, though some reports indicate that fish oil, magnesium/malic acid combinations, or vitamins may be effective. Reducing stress and improving coping skills may also help reduce painful symptoms.
Improved fitness through exercise is recommended. The best way to begin a fitness program is to start with low impact exercises like walking and swimming. Starting slowly helps stretch and mobilize tight, sore muscles. High-impact aerobics and weight lifting could cause increased discomfort. Gentle stretching and light massage may help relieve symptoms, as will electronic acupuncture and relaxation techniques.
Severe cases of fibromyalgia may require a referral to a pain clinic.
Fibromyalgia is generally a benign condition causing no damage to muscles or connective tissue. Developing depression, from having to deal with moderate to severe pain on a daily basis, is a high probability. With a supportive treatment program, the probable outcome is usually good, but symptoms may persist for a period ranging from six months to ten years.
This information was gathered from :
Brain scans document fibromyalgia pain
By Jacqueline Stenson
Last Updated: 2002-06-17 13:39:09 -0400
(Reuters Health) NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -
Brain scans of people with fibromyalgia offer the first hard evidence of what patients already know: Their pain is real and their threshold for tolerating it is substantially lower than that of most individuals.
"When patients with fibromyalgia tell us that they're tender, that they're experiencing pain at a much lower level than people without the condition, they are in fact experiencing that pain," said Dr. Daniel Clauw, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. "This is the first neurobiological evidence of the veracity of their pain," he told Reuters Health.
Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 2% to 4% of the population, mostly women. Patients commonly report feeling tenderness, stiffness and sometimes unbearable pain in various areas of the body. They also may suffer from fatigue, depression and gastrointestinal problems.
Some doctors without expertise in fibromyalgia have dismissed patients' complaints because there have been no documented physical signs of the disorder. "I hope this study helps convince physicians that this is a real condition," Clauw said. In the new report, published in a recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, Clauw and colleagues studied 16 people who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 16 healthy people who had not (the "control" group). All underwent a type of detailed brain scan known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while an instrument intermittently applied different levels of pressure to their left thumbnail.
When all study participants received the same level of mild pressure, blood flow increased much more in the brains of patients with fibromyalgia than among those in the control group. The increased blood flow--which is a "surrogate measure" for nerve activity--occurred in areas of the brain known to be associated with pain, Clauw noted.
In addition, when study participants were subjected to different levels of pressure, fibromyalgia patients reported pain at half the level of pressure that caused the same feelings of pain among the healthy controls, results showed. Clauw said the findings suggest that something is awry with the way the central nervous system processes painful stimuli in fibromyalgia patients. Future research should be aimed at identifying the problem and working to develop better treatments, he added.
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