Questions about Fibromyalgia

  • Who gets Fibromyalgia?

    Demographically (what we call "patients by the numbers"), it's usually females, age 30-50, usually white, who tend to be bright, and have had some type of life event or life stressor. This might be a car accident, etc. I, myself, believe there is a genetic predisposition as well as a hormonal influence involved here.
    A certain percentage of men do suffer from this disease, as well.

  • What is Fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia remains an elusive disease. It is really a syndrome, or a collection of problems that share pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and trouble concentrating. Others experienced list of other problems, but everybody shares the common experience of lost quality of life.

    Fibromyalgia is treated a number of different ways, and many of these treatments only partially effect a good change for the better. That is why there are so many unique experiences, and so many they claim one thing works for them, when it may not work for you.

    Fibromyalgia does share a common source of trouble, and that most likely is related to problems in the central nervous system. Alterations in chemicals that turn on and turned off parts of the brain and spinal cord probably play and important role in understanding and finding treatments for fibromyalgia. Hormonal disturbances, trauma, anxiety and depression, have also been implicated. Some believe there is a genetic link, or a situational origin that may have resulted from experiences dating back to a much younger age.

    It is not uncommon that those that suffer from fibromyalgia feel isolated and alone. The purpose of the forum is to demonstrate that you are not alone, and experiences can be shared. The purpose of fibromyalgia.com is to bring together a community of thoughts, common successes and failures, and to relay exciting new findings as they emerge.

  • What are the Fibro Five?

    The "Fibro Five" is a term referring to:

    • Fibromyalgia
    • Interstitial Cystitis
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    • Migraine Headache
    • Irritable Bowel

    Fibromyalgia and the rest of The Fibro 5 share a common pathophysiologic mechanism. To make this gross generalization, I must reach a little, but to obtain a better understanding in where this disease evolves is important to understanding the disease and its progression.

    Physicians commonly look for a disease process that is presented by symptoms. In the case of the Fibro 5, pain is the symptom. Pain is experienced in muscle groups described as "tender points" and sometimes in joints. These symptoms were actively reported in the mid 1800's and have been termed numerous syndromes such as myositis, myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyositis, etc. In actuality, these processes are likely of the same etiology.

  • What about Lupus or Multiple Sclerosis?

    Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) must be ruled out. A general medical workup will help define if this is a problem. The yield of chasing diagnosis such as MS and Lupus in the average fibromyalgia patient is very, very small. It is unlikely, but should be tested if the physician finds symptoms that might be suggestive.

  • What about Epstein Barr?

    Everybody is looking at Epstein Barr, but no one is finding anything that I can see is particularly useful. Epstein Barr may trigger a pathway that may turn on the pain amplifier centrally, but that's a reach. Fibromyalgia itself, irrespective of Epstein Barr, causes flu-like symptoms, joint pain, etc., but I do not believe that this is a clear etiology of fibromyalgia. Patients that have Epstein Barr virus do not always have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. There is an association epidemiologically, but it is weak.

  • My doctor said Fibromyalgia turns into Lupus after three years. Is that true?

    This is ludicrous. Fibromyalgia is a problem with the central nervous system. Some patients do have an association with Lupus. Some do have rheumatic disease and some people can get better through management, but this disease does not just go away, and it certainly does not disappear and turn into Lupus after three years.

  • Is there a causative link between Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia?

    Maybe. I might reach on this one, but the process of central activation could be caused by the organism that causes Lyme Disease. I do know that long-term joint problems can be activated and this can lead to a central sensitization syndrome (the central pain amplifier being turned up). I have thought about this and done my homework. I still can't give you a positive "yes" or "no" but I suspect there is a potential for a link.

  • Is fibromyalgia an arthritic disease?

    Fibromyalgia is not an arthritic disease. It is listed by the Arthritis Foundation, but this is a historical association.
    Fibromyalgia is not a relationship to an inflammatory disease. It is not an inflammatory disease. NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and steroids do not work.

  • How might Fibromyalgia affect my pregnancy?

    Probably not adversely. Don't let it. Make sure you get as much exercise as you can for the fetus and yourself. Don't overeat and watch your weight. Your obstetrician is going to be your best friend, and he or she must be supportive. As far as treatments such as chiropractic or massage therapy during pregnancy, I really don't have a problem with chiropractic adjustment therapy or massage therapy when used appropriately. All procedures and techniques have risk during pregnancy, just so you're informed. This is best settled through your chiropractic office. Find a good chiropractor. You'll be able to check that out on our physician referral web-site -- hopefully soon.

  • How do I know if I have fibromyalgia?

    There is no specific test at this time. Fibromyalgia might be considered at this juncture a disease of what we call "exclusion." We need to rule out other problems that fibromyalgia might be similar to in presentation. Many times physicians will order thyroid studies, inflammatory panels (arthritis-like tests), and overall health analysis work-ups. Most times, these are unrewarding. An occasional abnormal blood test frequently leads to more testing, chasing the venerable cat up the wrong tree. As is imperative with any fibromyalgia patient, ruling out other diseases (examining the differential diagnosis) is an absolute necessity. We want to first identify easily treatable or potentially damaging organic disease, and a medical doctor should do this. Alternative providers are eventually fine, especially if they help, but they are not trained in medical diagnosis and, unfortunately, I've seen many tragic cases of misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of serious disease.

  • How do I know I don't have another disease besides fibromyalgia?

    As I've mentioned before, the Fibro 5 is what I emphasize, but fibromyalgia has a whole list of cascading symptoms that throw the overall diagnosis into a quagmire of misunderstanding. Stick with the understanding that this disease causes a central amplification of pain, much like turning up the stereo amplifier. Your central nervous system (brain tissue and spinal cord tissue) are responding inappropriately to pain and conveys that to you as headache, sometimes irritable bowel, sometimes muscular pain, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, etc.

  • Fibromyalgia syndrome?

    See the articles on this site for information about Fibromyalgia Symptom. In addition, see the Pain Diaries book. Contact us for info about this book.

  • Can children get fibromyalgia?

    I have very strong feelings about children with fibromyalgia. At this time, I do not believe that young children experience fibromyalgia. There is a threshold age. I don't think you can have the reactive secondary changes of fibromyalgia at a young age. This is just a personal opinion. I don't have any hard science to back this up. It's a gray area. I plan to cover more on this topic in the book.

  • Can fibromyalgia affect the outcome of successful surgery?

    Fibromyalgia does affect the outcome of successful surgery. The recuperative phase where getting up and moving and returning to function is paramount. Discuss this with your surgeon and don't let him "pooh-pooh" this issue. His (and your) result is going to be based on your ability to cooperate with postoperative instructions. Straighten this out before you have surgery.

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