Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects about 2% of Americans. You’re more likely to get fibromyalgia as you age, if you’re a woman, and if you have an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. However, anyone can develop fibromyalgia, a condition that affects your entire body.
Research by neurologists and pain specialists have revealed that fibromyalgia often originates in the brain and the neural pathways, which for reasons unknown become overly sensitive and hyper-reactive. This explains why the chronic pain of fibromyalgia is so widespread and so difficult to pinpoint.
Some physicians reportedly dismiss complaints about widespread chronic pain, especially when they’re from female patients. Fibromyalgia is also often misdiagnosed — or incompletely diagnosed — as depression.
At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our expert neurologists diagnose and treat fibromyalgia. Do you suffer from widespread pain that’s been dismissed by other practitioners? You may have fibromyalgia. Here’s how it affects your body.
Unlike other types of chronic pain, fibromyalgia usually can’t be traced to an acute injury. Instead, you feel pain throughout your body. Even light touches to your skin may feel excruciating.
Fibromyalgia has been described as a central pain amplification disorder. It’s as if someone turned up the volume on pain and other sensations so you feel burning, tingling, or numbness in your:
Your joints may also feel swollen or stiff.
Chronic pain often interferes with a good night’s sleep, and fibromyalgia is no exception. Your body needs sleep in order to repair damage and remove toxins. Without sleep, your cells aren’t getting the restoration they need — and you may experience even more pain.
Another symptom of fibromyalgia is overwhelming fatigue and listlessness — and insomnia can exacerbate this. In addition to treating fibromyalgia, the Advanced Medical Care team also specializes in sleep medicine to help you get the rest your body needs.
Fibromyalgia may cause or worsen the brain fog and memory problems associated with aging. You may struggle to remember things that you once easily recalled. You may also have trouble concentrating or making decisions.
The changes in your brain that occur with fibromyalgia alter the levels of chemicals and proteins in your brain, too. Sleep troubles can only add to your brain fog, often referred to as “fibro fog.”
Depression frequently goes hand-in-hand with fibromyalgia and other pain conditions. Both pain and depression can contribute to trouble concentrating, focusing, or remembering.
Fibromyalgia affects your gut, too. You may experience bowel pain or have recurrent bloating, diarrhea or constipation. Many people with fibromyalgia are also diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A healthy diet and taking time to relax and unwind helps with digestive symptoms.
There’s no single test for fibromyalgia. Our experienced doctors first rule out other conditions that could mimic fibromyalgia’s symptoms.
We also conduct in-depth neurological evaluations to determine if fibromyalgia could be at the root of, or a contributor to, your symptoms. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) help us establish an accurate diagnosis.
If we determine that you have fibromyalgia, we then customize a treatment plan so you can better manage your condition and live a full and rich life. Possible therapies include:
We also recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and taking steps to ensure a better sleep, as well as supportive therapies. Acupuncture, for instance, can calm down the nerve circuits in your body to decrease the volume of pain.
Physical therapy helps strengthen your body overall so you’re less likely to put stress on your joints. Your physical therapist can also help you move more efficiently and improve your posture to reduce back pain.
Do you think you might have fibromyalgia? Contact one of our offices by phone or book an appointment online today for a fibromyalgia evaluation and treatment so you can live as pain-free as possible.