Fibromyalgia is joint pain that envelops your whole body. It’s wearing, constant and causes distressing fatigue.
What can I do to lower the pain?
Do I need a doctor?
Why do I have this pain?
Do I need a steroid to feel better? But, aren’t they harmful?
These questions are often asked in relation to Fibromyalgia.
Gerald Quigley discusses and responds to them in this episode of the podcast.
Recently fibrositis has been divided into two distinct categories: Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Fibromyalgia is not simply just a muscle pain syndrome as most presentations involve an array of other symptoms.
The medical definition of fibrositis is “an inflammation of the white fibrous tissue of the body, especially of the muscle sheaths, ligaments, tendons, periosteum and facial layers of the locomotor system and marked by pain and stiffness”. Recent evidence would suggest the inflammation is not a common observation in “fibrositis”.
The important issue here is that this condition is not deforming, degenerative, life threatening or imaginary and that there will be flare-ups.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome can be recognised by the following:
- Chronic and generalized aches, pains and stiffness involving more than three anatomical sites for more than three months.
- Disordered sleep patterns especially Stage 4 non-rapid eye movement sleep
- Absences of other systemic conditions to account for these conditions.
- Multiple tender joints at characteristic locations.
- Severe fatigue.
- Affects more women (up to 5%) than men (about 0.5%)
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome is more localized, associated with tender spots (neck and shoulder) and sleep disturbance without chronic fatigue.
A multidisciplinary approach is essential because management of fibromyalgia is very demanding. Self help must be encouraged to maintain treatment. Symptoms are worsened by emotional stress, medical illness, trauma, cold damp weather, overexertion and surgery.
Tai Chi and exercise in warm water, preferably first thing in the mornings, have both been shown to offer remedial therapy without aggravating muscle systems. Sound wave therapy has also been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Do you worry about using a steroid for your pain?
- What do you find most helpful in managing your pain and discomfort?