Tag Archives: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Affects Mental Health of Those Diagnosed and Their Spouses

(Apr. 30, 2010) — Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic, widespread pain throughout the body. In a new study, University of Missouri researchers are examining how the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia can affect marriages. Initial findings reveal that diagnosed spouses have considerably higher levels of depressive symptoms and pain and report more marital instability and anger than their spouses. For both spouses, the symptoms can trigger increased emotional withdrawal and mental strain. Continue reading

7 myths about the risks and dangers of opioid analgesics

By Maria Szalavitz for MSN Health and Fitness

Celebrity magazines all too often feature stories about overdose deaths and rehab admissions, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy is running an advertising campaign about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

But when taken as prescribed, just how risky are drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin?

The truth might surprise you. Myths and misinformation about opioid painkillers are widespread. Here are the facts. Continue reading

Treating Fibromyalgia with Massage Therapy

by Jordan Rocksmith

Life with fibromyalgia has not been easy for me. I have one of the rare cases that strikes juveniles, so I have felt wiped out and in pain since before I started my freshman year of high school. I was unable to actively start seeking treatment until I had graduated–when my family had health insurance.

But since then, I have vigorously pursued various avenues of treatment to help me enjoy a higher quality of life. That is why I started investigating the benefits of massage therapy, and I have found that with a monthly massages in San Francisco, I lower my stress level and experience much less pain than I would without one.

If you suffer from this debilitating disease, then massage therapy may be one way to take your life back. Allow me to give a brief explanation on how this may work for you.
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Men are also fibromyalgia patients

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) — The chronic pain syndrome fibromyalgia, which most often occurs in women, can also affect men — not only as patients, but as caregivers, U.S. researchers say.

“Although 10 percent to 20 percent of fibromyalgia patients are males, few scientific studies have been done in this population,” Lynne Matallana of the National Fibromyalgia Association says in a statement.

The National Fibromyalgia Association and the American Pain Foundation are joining with the Men’s Health Network in conducting an online survey. Continue reading

Treat Fibromyalgia Naturally

by H Harris

Fibromyalgia is a disease and disorder that mainly distresses muscle tissues. The typical characteristic of this disease is pain. Pain may have various degrees. It might be a bearable discomfort or sharp and chronic pain experienced in different parts of the body. The pain can be eased through natural fibromyalgia treatment.

Normally, the pain is focused on a muscle, which becomes very sensitive even if slightly pressed. This is generally called as trigger point or tender point. Trigger points need not automatically cover the entire muscle portion. In reality, trigger points are just a small portion of the muscle. They may be inoffensive, but trigger points primarily “trigger” pain in other areas of the body.
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Fibromyalgia: A review of management options


Characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, fibromyalgia (FM) is a debilitating syndrome affecting approximately 2% of the US population. Disordered central pain processing likely plays a role in the pathogenesis of FM and treatment strategies primarily focus on alleviating pain and addressing associated symptoms and comorbid conditions. Despite evidence suggesting efficacy of various agents that act on the central nervous system and modulate pain perception (ie, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants), no one drug or class of drugs has proven to completely address all symptoms of FM. Evidence-based recommendations utilize an integrated approach that combines nonpharmacologic approaches (specifically patient education, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy) and pharmacologic approaches in the management of FM. (Formulary. 2009; 44:362-373.)

The second most common diagnosis after osteoarthritis in patients seen by rheumatologists, fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic and debilitating central pain disorder.1 FM affects approximately 2% of the US population, with prevalence rates of 3.4% in women and 0.5% in men.2 Characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, the lack of overt inflammation or joint destruction often associated with numerous other rheumatologic disorders makes the diagnosis and management of FM difficult. Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 20 and 55, but FM can be diagnosed at any age.3 In addition, patients with FM often present with a number of comorbid chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses or pain syndromes.4 Consequences associated with FM include daytime fatigue,

impaired concentration, poor job performance, and decreased patient self-efficacy beliefs.1 Treatment of FM focuses on reducing pain and improving sleep and overall quality of life.

No laboratory or diagnostic tests can definitively confirm FM. A diagnosis is made by a careful review of patient medication, psychosocial and family history, physical examination, laboratory evaluations, and exclusion of other conditions with symptoms of chronic pain, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome.4 The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has compiled the criteria for diagnosing FM.5 However, failure to meet these criteria does not rule out a diagnosis of FM, as the number of tender points may change over time.6,7

The clinical presentation of FM is heterogeneous and in addition to the ACR criteria, other symptoms commonly occur. Musculoskeletal symptoms of FM include widespread pain at multiple sites, stiffness, sensation of hurting all over, and diffuse soft tissue swelling.4 Nonmusculoskeletal symptoms often include difficulty falling or staying asleep, fatigue, paresthesias, and difficulties with concentration and memory. The pain associated with FM can be variable and is often described as a widespread, deep, burning, or gnawing ache.4,7 Physical or emotional stress, nonrestorative sleep, and a decrease in physical activity often worsen symptoms. Fibromyalgia may occur concurrently with hypothyroidism, and other commonly comorbid conditions include anxiety and depressive disorders, insomnia, migraine headache, irritable bowel syndrome, restless leg syndrome, temporomandibular pain syndrome, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.4

While the exact cause of FM remains unknown, genetic influences, physical or psychological trauma or stress, disturbances in the neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous systems, abnormalities in pain perception, and various biochemical changes are all proposed to play a role in its etiology.1,6-9 Many of these findings individually are not specific to FM or sufficient to explain the pain associated with FM. However, it is well accepted that patients with FM experience pain differently than pain-free controls and they do so in the absence of any identifiable underlying disease.1,6

Many of the available pharmacotherapeutic treatment options are based on the proposed pathophysiology of FM and associated comorbid conditions. Recommendations for the management of FM published by the American Pain Society (APS) in 2004 and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in 2007 employ differing criteria for evidence-based ratings, yet both sets of recommendations support the incorporation of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic strategies.10,11

Fibromyalgia Gets Worse During Menstruation

By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Laura J. Martin, MDApril 16, 2010 (Toronto) — Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, and a painful bladder condition called interstitial cystitis (IC) seem to get worse in some women right before and during menstruation, researchers report.

All three are disorders of the autonomic nervous system. That’s the part of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that controls functions such as blood pressure and bladder control; these functions are largely involuntary and below our level of consciousness.

“Since other autonomic disorders like migraine and fainting seem to have menstrual variations, we theorized that these conditions would have these variations as well,” says Thomas Chelimsky, MD, professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

IBS is characterized by abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, while fibromyalgia is characterized by pain throughout the body, along with tender points.

IC patients have pain in the bladder. All three conditions affect women more than men. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms of all three, Chelimsky tells WebMD.

For the study, 79 women with IBS, 77 women with fibromyalgia, and 129 women with IC filled out a questionnaire asking about the severity of their symptoms throughout the month.

A total of 25% of the IBS patients, 18% of the fibromyalgia patients, and 9% of the IC patients reported worsening of symptoms during or before their period.

While not addressed by the study, Chelimsky believes fluctuations in hormone levels may explain the findings.

“Estrogen is a pain preventative,” Chelimsky says. Levels are at their lowest right before menstruation and are still low while a woman has her period.

Additionally, 15% of women in the study reported worse pain at menopause, another time estrogen levels drop. In a surprising finding that the researchers could not explain, 37% of women said symptoms got worse at the time of their first period.

Also unknown is why symptoms fluctuate with hormone levels in some women and not others.

The findings of the poster presentation were reported here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Asked to comment on the findings, Nathan Wei, MD, clinical director of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland, says, “This study confirms the clinical impression made by practitioners for many years — that hormonal shifts play a major role in symptom exacerbation.”

Chelimsky says that other research shows that women with IBS, fibromyalgia, and IC who are on estrogen-containing birth control pills seem to have fewer symptoms than other women with the conditions.

“I wouldn’t recommend patients go on the pill [for this reason],” Chelimsky says.

“But if they have bad periods, they may want to get on an exercise program. Studies have shown that’s the best thing you can do to improve symptoms,” he says.

Even a little activity helps fibromyalgia pain

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

Short bursts of activity can help ease the discomfort of fibromyalgia, a condition associated with long-term pain and tender joints, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from the condition, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. The condition has been linked to chronic fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, and constant headaches.

The study looked at 84 minimally active adults with fibromyalgia. The patients were randomly put into two groups; either the “Lifestyle Physical Activity’” (LPA) group or the Fibromyalgia Education (FME) group. LPA involves moderate-intensity physical activity based around everyday life such as taking the stairs instead of using an elevator, gardening and walking. In this study, participants were taught to perform LPA intense enough to cause heavy breathing, but not so vigorous that they could not hold a conversation. In the FME group, participants only received information and support about their fibromyalgia, but no activity plan.

Seventy-three of the 84 participants completed the 12-week trial. The LPA group increased average daily steps by 54 percent compared with the FME group. The LPA group also reported significantly less movement problems and less pain than those in the non-active group. However, when both groups were given a six-minute walk test, there were no differences between the groups when it came to decreasing fatigue, depression, body mass index, or tenderness.

Kevin Fontaine, lead author of the study and a professor with the division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said even a little movement helps. “The nature of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, the body pain and fatigue, make it hard for people with this malady to participate in traditional exercise,” explains Fontaine. “We’ve shown that LPA can help them to get at least a little more physically active, and that this seems to help improve their symptoms.”

The study appears in the recent open access journal of Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Early Treatment Of Fibromyalgia More Effective, Research Suggests

ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2009) — People suffering from fibromyalgia have reduced activity in the parts of the brain that inhibit the experience of pain. Drugs that affect the CNS can be effective against the disease, and are thought to be even more so if administered early in its course, according to a new thesis from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.
See Also:
Health & Medicine

* Pain Control
* Fibromyalgia
* Joint Pain

Mind & Brain

* Caregiving
* Depression
* Brain Injury


* Chronic pain
* Phantom limb
* Functional neuroimaging
* Gate control theory of pain

“It’s a common misconception that fibromyalgia is a manifestation of mental problems,” says Karin B. Jensen, postgraduate at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience. “But in the studies that comprise my thesis, we’ve made careful measurements and have found no correlation at all between pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients and the degree of anxiety or depression they show.”

In one of the studies presented in the thesis, subjects had both thumbs pressed hard enough for them to feel the same degree of mild pain as healthy controls. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers could show that the subjects had the same level of activity in the parts of the brain that deal with emotions as well assensory information from the thumb, regardless of which group they belonged to. However, the subjects with fibromyalgia had lower activity in a brain area that inhibits the experience of pain.

According to the team, treatment with drugs that work on the central nervous system (CNS), such as SNRI antidepressants, are effective against fibromyalgia. But this is not a question of treating depression but of other properties of these drugs.

“The patients who had had their pain symptoms for the shortest amount of time were those that responded best to the drug treatments tested,” says Karin B Jensen. “This shows how important it is that fibromyalgia is detected and taken seriously as early in its development as possible.”

Her thesis also confirms the existence of a relationship between genetics and pain regulation. Studies of healthy people revealed a relationship between a specific genetic variant and the effect of a morphine-like drug on repeated pain stimulation. The results suggest that the gene under study only affects the body’s pain regulating system in the presence of greater psychological stress. This knowledge, say the researchers, could one day make possible the development of customised medical treatments and thus better and more effective pain relief.

Fibromyalgia affects about two per cent of the population, women more so than men. The disease involves the enhancement of pain impulses, leaving sufferers highly sensitive to pain, which is both chronic and diffuse. Previously, the causes of the disease were unknown, and there were no objective measurements of the way the CNS processes pain. This, in turn, made many sufferers feel misunderstood and mistreated by the healthcare services and during rehabilitation.