Fibromyalgia, or FM, is a common medical disorder defined by a chronic and widespread pain throughout the body, but has a variety of other symptoms. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be confused with arthritis, but isn’t the same necessarily as arthritis causes inflammation and damage to the joints or to muscles. It is similar to arthritis however, due to the fact that it causes pain in discomfort throughout the body and can cause disruption is a person’s daily routine.
Fibromyalgia is a difficult disorder to treat because it only has three FDA-approved medications: Duloxetine, Milnacipran, and Pregabalin. Physicians have also been known to treat FM with a variety of other medications though developed for other disorders. These medications are known as “off-label.”
Physicians often recommend NSAIDs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—as a way to treat combat some of the symptoms of FM. Although they might help with the aching pains of FM, they should never be used as a first line of defense in fighting fibromyalgia. Basically, there’s no easy solution to solving your fibromyalgia, but the medical community is working hard to come up with treatment options in order to combat it as much as possible.
Bodily Pain: Research has slowly suggested that FM is due to how the body processes pain. Research also intimates that perhaps the body is overly sensitive to stimuli that might not be considered as painful to others. Researchers are very much concerned with how the body processes pain and how it contributes to the diagnosis of FM.
Exercising: Fibromyalgia can cause extreme fatigue, so exercising with FM can be very difficult. However, researchers have found that daily exercise can help alleviate painful symptoms and are continuing to test how daily activity affects FM.
Lack of Sleep: People who have FM often have trouble sleeping due to the pain, with little help coming from medications. Researchers are testing out whether or not CPAP machines affect whether or not it may help those afflicted with their insomnia.
Opioids as a Treatment: There is treatment suggesting that opiates might help relieve pain associated with FM. The combination of Tramadol and Paracetemol has demonstrated some efficacy, safety and tolerability (for up to two years in the management of other pain conditions) without the development of tolerance.
To participate in clinical trials, or to better understand fibromyalgia, contact the Institute for Advanced Medical Research at 770-817-9200.