As many as 12 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. If you’re one of them, you know the toll the condition can take on your life and health. For years, there was a lack of understanding about its causes and symptoms. In fact, until the last couple of decades, many practitioners and insurance companies didn’t recognize fibromyalgia as a legitimate medical problem.
Today, great strides are being made in the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia, but there is still a lot of work to be done. As a leading pain management specialist in Pembroke Pines, Florida, David Berkower, DO, of Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation, helps fibromyalgia sufferers manage their symptoms and improve their lives with custom treatment plans focused on each patient’s symptoms.
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, here’s what you should know about your available treatment options.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the way the brain and spinal cord process painful and nonpainful signals. In short, the condition amplifies signals out of proportion to what they should be. So what might feel like a light touch under normal circumstances might feel very painful in someone who has fibromyalgia.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes this to happen, but symptoms often begin after a traumatic event, such as physical trauma or severe psychological stress.
The most common fibromyalgia symptoms include:
- Widespread pain or muscle aches
- Sleep problems
- Problems concentrating or problems with memory
- Tender points located throughout the body
Because fibromyalgia hasn’t been considered a real medical disorder until relatively recently, many practitioners still aren’t familiar with the symptoms it can cause. Often, these symptoms are attributed to other causes, or they may be written off as part of the “natural process” of aging.
There is no single test to diagnose fibromyalgia. Instead, Dr. Berkower uses a combination of methods, including reviewing the patient’s symptoms and medical history, performing a physical exam, and running blood tests to rule out other possible causes.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure. Researchers are still learning how fibromyalgia affects the body, why it occurs, and why some people are susceptible to the condition while others aren't.
Although there isn’t a cure yet, there are very effective ways of managing it. Most people with fibromyalgia benefit from a multi-pronged approach to treatment, with options custom-tailored to their symptoms and lifestyles.
The key to successfully manage your symptoms is to have regular visits with a pain management specialist like Dr. Berkower, who has experience in diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia symptoms.
What are the treatment options?
Fibromyalgia symptoms affect people in different ways, so your treatment plan will be optimized for your needs. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Berkower may prescribe:
- Regular physical activity to reduce pain and stiffness
- Stress management techniques
- Dietary changes
- Physical therapy
- Medications to reduce pain and anxiety or improve sleep
- Trigger point injections
Once your treatment is underway, routine office visits will ensure that your plan remains optimized for your life and symptoms.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can take a big toll on your everyday life. Without treatment, you may find yourself suffering from depression, anxiety, and other emotional health issues, in addition to your physical symptoms. Fortunately, today’s treatment options can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.