Fibromyalgia isn't just a condition affecting your physical body—it impacts every facet of your life, every piece of you. It's an ongoing presence, often an unwelcome one, and we recognize how it can make you feel isolated and misunderstood. But we want you to know you're not alone. Our team is composed of highly trained professionals who are not only experts in the field of pain management but also empathetic listeners who truly care about your well-being.
We take pride in our thorough, personalized approach to managing fibromyalgia—and strongly believe that you are more than your pain, more than your diagnosis. Our goal is to assist you in managing your pain, reclaim your strength, and rekindle the pleasures of life that fibromyalgia may have overshadowed.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects many people worldwide. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas of the body. The condition is often accompanied by other symptoms, including sleep disturbances, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.
While the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, it is more prevalent in women than men and can begin at any age, but the onset is most commonly between 30 and 50 years old. Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating condition that significantly affects a person's quality of life. The pain, fatigue, and other symptoms can make it challenging to carry out daily activities, including social and work life. However, with appropriate treatment, many people with fibromyalgia can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that presents with a wide range of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
People with fibromyalgia may experience all or some of these symptoms, and they can range from mild to severe. The symptoms can also come and go, making it challenging to diagnose. It is essential to work with a healthcare provider who specializes in pain management to receive an accurate diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan.
Prescription medications may be used to manage pain, improve sleep, and reduce other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Examples include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers.
Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a medication that has been used off-label to treat various chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia. Naltrexone is typically used in higher doses to help manage opioid addiction, but in low doses, it has been shown to have immune-modulating effects that may help reduce pain and inflammation. LDN works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain and triggering the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body. It may also modulate the activity of immune cells, lowering inflammation.
Duloxetine is a medication that is commonly used to treat fibromyalgia. It is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that works by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help to reduce pain and improve mood.
Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant medication that is also used to treat fibromyalgia. It works by binding to a specific type of calcium channel in the brain and nervous system, which can help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.
Milnacipran is an SNRI medication that is approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Like other SNRIs, it works by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which can help to reduce pain and improve mood.
Gabapentin is another anticonvulsant medication that is used to treat fibromyalgia. It works by blocking the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved in pain signaling, which can help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.
Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia. It works by altering the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.
Physiotherapy for fibromyalgia aims to improve physical function and alleviate pain symptoms. It involves a combination of exercise, manual therapy, and education to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Therapies and treatments used in physiotherapy for fibromyalgia may include:
A technique that involves applying pressure to specific points in the muscles to relieve pain and tension.
A technique that involves applying gentle pressure to the connective tissue to improve range of motion and relieve pain.
Exercises to improve muscle strength and endurance, improve range of motion and promote overall health.
Education on how to move and lift properly to reduce pain and prevent injury.
Education on the nature of fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and how to manage the condition on a daily basis.
Pain psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the psychological factors that contribute to pain perception and management. For individuals with fibromyalgia, pain psychology can be particularly helpful in managing the chronic pain associated with this condition. Research has shown that pain is not just a physical sensation, but is also influenced by psychological and social factors. Neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to reorganize and change over time, is a key aspect of pain psychology. By engaging in cognitive and behavioral interventions, such as mindfulness meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and graded exercise therapy, individuals with fibromyalgia can help rewire the parts of the brain involved in pain perception, leading to improved pain management and overall quality of life. Pain psychology also emphasizes the importance of addressing underlying psychological factors, such as anxiety and depression, that may contribute to chronic pain.
CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to their symptoms. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life for individuals with fibromyalgia.
MBSR is a type of meditation-based therapy that can help individuals manage stress and reduce pain. It involves focusing on the present moment and developing awareness of one's thoughts and feelings.
Occupational therapy focuses on promoting functional independence, optimizing participation in daily activities, and enhancing overall quality of life. To achieve these goals, OTs employ a variety of therapies and strategies, including:
This involves teaching patients how to prioritize daily activities, manage fatigue, and use efficient body mechanics to conserve energy.
OTs may recommend modifying activities to reduce pain and discomfort, such as using assistive devices, adapting work or home environments, and modifying task demands.
This involves gradually increasing activity levels in a safe and structured manner to improve endurance and reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia.
OTs may use sensory integration techniques to improve sensory processing and reduce sensory overload, which can contribute to pain and fatigue.
OTs may also use CBT techniques to help patients identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to pain and other symptoms.
This may include techniques such as meditation and deep breathing to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga can help reduce pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. It is recommended to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise.
Getting enough high-quality sleep is crucial for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bed can help improve sleep quality.
Managing stress levels can help reduce the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms. Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Eating a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help improve overall health and reduce inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. Avoiding processed and sugary foods is also recommended.
Learning pain management techniques like distraction, imagery, and positive thinking can help reduce the impact of pain on daily life.
Pacing activities throughout the day can help manage energy levels and reduce the risk of overexertion, which can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
Building a support network of family, friends, and healthcare professionals can provide emotional support and practical assistance in managing fibromyalgia.
Prioritizing self-care activities like taking a warm bath, practicing relaxation techniques, or engaging in a creative hobby can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Learning more about fibromyalgia and its management can help individuals feel more in control of their symptoms and improve their quality of life.