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Q: " ... Dr.Keti, I have a question about Fibromyalgia. What is the best way to control this disease? And how exactly does a person get such a thing? I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for 9 years now and there hasn't been too much relief from anything other then pain meds, and in order to not get addicted I would like to find some useful information that would better my pain and ease my life. "

Dr. Keti:

According to the American College of Rheumatology, www.rheumatology.org, "Fibromyalgia is common, affecting approximately two percent of the U.S. population, it occurs seven times more frequently in women than in men and it occurs most frequently in women of childbearing age".

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS):

or also known as fibrositis, is a widespread pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia as a word means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons--the connective tissues in the body.

Symptoms:
Pain - Many describe the pain in fibromyalgia differently. It can be felt either as deep muscular aching, burning, throbbing, or stabbing. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning and present more often in muscle groups that are used repetitively.
Fatigue - This symptom can be mild in some patients and yet incapacitating in others. Usually, the patients feel totally drained of energy. In addition they have difficulty concentrating. (1)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome needs to be excluded as constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas and nausea represent symptoms that are frequently found in patients with fibromyalgia. (3)
Insomnia - lack of sleep and in particular lack of deep sleep i.e. the time when one dreams and experiences REM (Rapid Eye Movement). This is also the time when one's body begins to restore, heal and refresh itself. Here is a link to a wonderful tip on how to relax and fall a sleep www.healingwell.com/
Headaches - Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 50% of fibromyalgia patients and can pose as a major problem in coping for this patient group www.fmnetnews.com Sensitivities to odors - noise, bright lights, medications and various foods is common in many patients.
Many other common symptoms - may be experienced by the patients, such as dizziness, painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea), chest pain, morning stiffness, joints pain, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness, irritable bladder, skin sensitivities, nervousness, dry eyes and mouth, impaired coordination and depression can occur. (1)

Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, hormonal fluctuations, stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion can all contribute to symptom flare-ups

What causes this syndrome?
There are many theories about what is the etiology of fibromyalgia. Some are thought to be related to alterations in neurotransmitter regulation (particularly serotonin, norepinephrine and substance P, a substance that has been found in some studies to be elevated threefold in the spinal fluid of fibromyalgia patients), others include changes in immune system function, sleep physiology, and hormonal control.(4)

Diagnosis
Diagnosis is based on the patient's description of chronic widespread pain and the finding of tender points at specific locations by a physician. There are no blood or x-ray tests that are abnormal in fibromyalgia.
Common conditions that may mimic fibromyalgia such as hypothyroidism, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and infections, should be thought about and usually be can excluded by examination and laboratory tests. Find out more here: National Fibromyalgia Research Association

Common Treatment
Traditional treatments are geared toward improving the quality of sleep, as well as reducing the wide spread pain. Medication that increases one's body's level of serotonin and norepinephrine--neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain and immune system function--are commonly prescribed. (2)

Please refer to this link for some additional interesting info: MEDICATION GUIDE FOR FIBROMYALGIA SYNDROME

There are a number of things that one can do to help control the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.

Find out more what you can do to improve your quality of life by just adding regular simple exercise, having a relaxing massage, baths, having healthy diet and plenty of rest and sleep. Click here for more info: http://www.healingwell.com

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