Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood condition that causes widespread pain and fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often describe their symptoms as a flu-like infection that doesn’t go away. It leaves them exhausted and unable to think or find the right words. With fibromyalgia pain, they have trouble sleeping and wake up stiff and achy. The symptoms can be debilitating and patients feel as though they have to push themselves to get anything done.
Fibromyalgia generally means widespread pain in the muscles, but this syndrome causes many other symptoms, including fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Lab tests seldom validate this condition. Pressing on tender points can diagnose fibromyalgia, but the exam still does not explain all of the symptoms. It’s sometimes thought of as a “garbage-can diagnosis” – if doctors can’t find anything else wrong with you, they say you have fibromyalgia.
So is fibromyalgia a real medical condition or it is one of “all in your head” matters? An honest answer is that we still don’t know for sure. While there’s a lot that’s unknown about fibromyalgia, but researchers have learned more about it in just the past few years. In people who have fibromyalgia, the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently. As a result, they react more strongly to touch and pressure, with a heightened sensitivity to pain. There seems to be real physiological and neurochemical problems associated with fibromyalgia. The next question is – if there are real issues, then how could they be treated?
In our society, people tend to think that there is a cure or a fix for every medical problem. You go to the doctor, expecting he or she will fix whatever’s wrong with you with medication or surgery. It’s frustrating to people with fibromyalgia because the traditional treatment approach isn’t effective enough. And it’s also frustrating to health care providers because they want to help people. But there’s no magic pill that can provide an easy fix, and this is there our unique Integrative Rheumatology practice can help. It takes lifestyle changes and many small steps toward achieving wellness. It’s a more like a guided process towards Life without Pain – it is similar to walking up the stairs – one step at at time – and before you know it, you have reached your goal.