Allison Elliott-Shannon

Treatments Can Ease Severe Aches, Pain of Fibromyalgia

Published: Jan 15, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 15, 2013) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013.

 

By Dr. Leslie Crofford

 

Everyday aches and pains are a part of life, but sometimes they can get so severe that it is almost unbearable and interferes with the ability to function normally. In that case, fibromyalgia may be to blame.

 

Fibromyalgia causes pain that can be felt in muscles, joint and even skin. Although it is the most common musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis, it is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. It is characterized by all-over body ache that persists for at least three months, specific tender points on the body and severe fatigue. <?xml:namespace prefix = owc />

 

The muscles may feel like they are tired and overworked and may twitch, burn or have a deep stabbing pain. The condition can be accompanied by unrefreshing sleep, problems with clear thinking and feelings of anxiety or depression. Other medical conditions sometimes found in fibromyalgia patients are chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and temporomandibular or facial pain.

 

It is estimated that more than 12 million Americans are living with fibromyalgia, and it is more common in women than in men. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but those with fibromyalgia may have a personal or family history of other painful conditions.

 

It is thought that one reason women are more likely to have the condition is that they have about seven times less serotonin in their brains than men do. Reduced serotonin or other brain chemicals may lead to the increased sensitivity to pain in patients with fibromyalgia.

 

Diagnosing fibromyalgia requires first making sure you do not have other conditions that have similar symptoms. Blood and other laboratory tests can rule out other serious illnesses. Your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

 

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but a combination of medications, exercises and behavioral changes can treat symptoms.

 

Aerobic or conditioning exercises can relieve pain and the depression that may come with the condition. Regular exercise can normalize levels of the brain chemicals that are altered in fibromyalgia patients. Regular exercise can also improve sleep and reduce fatigue.

 

If you have trouble getting started with an exercise program, physical therapy also can be used to learn how to get started and how to avoid injury.

 

Anti-depressants are the class of drugs commonly prescribed to help with fibromyalgia pain and are used because they increase levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals that reduce pain.

 

Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen may also be useful but should be taken only as recommended.

 

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are not specifically helpful because there is no inflammation with fibromyalgia, but they may be useful for other types of pain that may worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.

 

A muscle relaxant taken at bedtime can help to provide a more restful sleep.

 

Alternative fibromyalgia treatments could also be beneficial for treating its symptoms, though research in these areas is minimal. Those treatments include yoga, tai-chi, acupuncture and chiropractic massage.

 

The medical community continues to seek the cause of fibromyalgia. There are genetic factors that place people at risk for developing fibromyalgia and related pain conditions. It is also known that fibromyalgia can be triggered or worsened by many types of physical and emotional stressors.

 

If you think you are suffering from fibromyalgia, contact your primary physician.

 

Dr. Leslie Crofford is chief of the Division of Rheumatology and director of the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health at UK HealthCare.

crofford-leslie-j.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Sun
7
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Labor Day
Mon
8
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Constitutional Decisions and LGBTQ+ Rights
Freedom of Speech for Higher Education Faculty
Interactive Issues Graffiti Wall for Constitution Day: "What Civic Issues are Most Important to You?"
Voter Registration and Information on Student Civic Engagement
Citizen Kentucky Project for Constitution Day 2015
Advocacy through Digital Citizenship
The Gender and Citizenship Challenge
"Picking Cotton" in Context: A Discussion on Issues from the Common Reading Experience book
The Power of Symbols: Confederate Imagery in the Public Space
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 
Sep 05
Swing Dance Lessons - Free 09/05/2015

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 21 2015 .
Sat, 09/05/2015

Sat, 09/05/2015

Mon, 09/07/2015

Repeats every week until Tue Dec 08 2015 .
Tue, 09/08/2015

Reset Page