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Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, and problems with sleep, memory, and mood. The condition amplifies painful sensations that affect the way the brain and spinal cord process signals of pain.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

Many researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes changes in the brain and spinal cord of people with fibromyalgia. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain.

In addition, the brain’s pain receptors become sensitized and develop a sort of memory of the pain. This can cause an overreaction to painful and non painful signals.

Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

  • Genetics. A family history of fibromyalgia may indicate certain genetic mutations that may increase the risk of developing the disorder.
  • Infections. Some illnesses may trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
  • Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical event, such as a car accident, or prolonged psychological stress.
  • Other disorders. Patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain. Constant dull ache that lasts for at least three months, and occurs on both sides of the body, above and below the waist.
  • Fatigue. Awakening tired even after sleeping for a long period of time; sleep is often disrupted by pain, and may cause sleep disorders.
  • Cognitive impairment. “Fibro fog” impairs an individual’s ability to focus, pay attention, and concentrate.

Fibromyalgia may coexist with the following conditions:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome

Though there is no cure for the condition, patients can experience pain relief with certain treatments.


Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia

Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia can manage their symptoms with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine.

Joint and soft tissue injections, such as piriformis injection, epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections can help ease pain caused by fibromyalgia. The type of soft tissue injection that is done will depend on the severity and location of the pain.

Patients suffering from fibromyalgia may experience relief by incorporating pain management techniques into treatment; these techniques may include cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, gentle exercise, biofeedback, mind-body techniques, music therapy, and occupational therapy. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.

Westcare Clinics also practices occupational medicine, which is done to help patients maintain the strength and ability they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are available to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.

Advanced Treatment

Patients experiencing pain from fibromyalgia may need complex, long-term care to manage symptoms. Advanced treatment options may include surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for fibromyalgia.



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