Medical Treatments for Fibromyalgia

Unlike most other conditions that cause a person to have chronic pain, that cause of fibromyalgia cannot be traced back to a broken bone, degenerated joint, systemic inflammatory disease, or injured soft tissue. Also, there is no general consensus as to what causes fibromyalgia, or even which structures are the pain generators. A pain generator is the cause of pain, where which structures have been injured to cause the patient's localized or referred pain. What we do know about fibromyalgia is that due to either a physical or emotional condition, a person begins to feel pain in certain areas of the body, and to experience a heightened sensation and pain in certain parts of the body in response to relatively little pressure.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects muscle and muscle coverings (fascia) throughout the body, causing enough pain and tenderness to make everyday functioning and sleeping difficult.

Fibromyalgia is similar but distinct to Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), though both conditions have many common symptoms, causes, and treatments. The two pain conditions have so many common symptoms that nearly 75% of people with one condition have the other condition. One of the differences between the two syndromes is that fibromyalgia is more of a "global" condition, affecting the entire body, while MPS is localized to one or two adjacent areas of the body.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia: The two key features of fibromyalgia include muscle pain and concentrated areas of pain and sensitivity in the muscles, called trigger points. Unlike many medical conditions where back spasms and trigger points can be traced back to a particular injury to nearby joints or soft tissues, the there does not appear to be an obvious cause of trigger points in patients with fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia have trigger points and one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty getting to sleep and maintaining sleep
  • Feeling tired and fatigued after waking from sleep, as opposed to feeling well rested and refreshed
  • Achiness and stiffness in the joints for the first few hours of wakening, with the stiffness decreasing as the day goes on
  • back pain

Fibromyalgia is thought to be a multidimensional disorder that involves several factors, including the patient's emotional health, posture, and several other factors. Doctors who treat fibromyalgia will create a treatment program using the best medicines and physical therapy programs that are available. Doctors will also try to select treatments that are appropriate to what they think are the cause of the patient's condition.

Fibromyalgia - medical treatments: Here are some of the most common treatments for fibromyalgia.
  • Behavioural/Psychological therapies. A large percentage of patients with fibromyalgia suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, or depression. Any treatment program for the patient's physical condition will be less likely to succeed without addressing the patient's emotional health. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), allow with a healthy low impact exercise program, has been proven beneficial in many patients.
  • Medications. There are several medications that have been approved for patient use in the last ten years, that appear to be of some benefit to patients with fibromyalgia. Milnacipran, duloxetine, and Pregabalin have all shown to be of some benefit towards reducing the intensity of symptoms.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to be effective at reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • Low impact physical therapy or exercise programs , combined with medications and psychological therapy, have shown to be good combination therapies that together work better than any one treatment alone. Water based exercises are good low impact exercises appropriate to fibromyalgia.