Fibromyalgia

Are you suffering from Fibromyalgia?

Have you been to numerous doctors, tried dozens of medicines, supplements and therapies for fibromyalgia and are still suffering? Did somebody tell you to just live with pain? Perhaps you are seeing a psychiatrist or taking anti-depressants. Because you have an illness that's hard to "prove," loved ones and even doctors may label you as crazy or simply depressed. You may have been told, "It's all in your head."

We believe your symptoms are real. You may be suffering from a debilitating condition known as Fibromyalgia (FM) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). You do not have to suffer anymore - at Synergy Therapeutic Group we specialize in treating this type of condition without any medication or injections.

Facts about Fibromyalgia:

  • FM occurs in approximately 2 percent of the general population
  • Women are more likely to have symptoms of FM than men
  •  F affects mostly those between the ages of 35-65
  •  FM is a non- articular condition (no joints are involved)
  • The so- called diagnosis is made by physical findings of tenderness at anatomic areas called tender  points and 18 such tender points have been designated. Patients with FM will feel tenderness at the palpation of at least 11 of these 18 points. These tender points can be common to many other musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Traditional laboratory tests and X-rays should be normal
  • 10- 30% of patients seen in an average rheumatology practice will have Fibromyalgia and they will only be prescribed medication
  • The average yearly cost to treat FM is approximately $2,000, about the same as the treatment of osteoarthritis

Common symptoms of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Pain

    The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting and stabbing. Intense burning may also be present. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning and you may hurt more in frequently used muscle groups.

  • Fatigue

    This symptom can be mild in some fibromyalgia patients and yet incapacitating in others. The fatigue has been described as "brain fatigue" in which patients feel totally drained of energy. Many patients describe this by saying that they feel as though their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks and they have difficulty concentrating.

  • Sleep disorder

    Most fibromyalgia patients have difficulty sleeping, referred to as unrefreshing sleep, teeth grinding, periodic limb movement during sleep (jerking of arms and legs), restless legs syndrome (difficulty sitting still in the evenings) and night time cramps in the legs which can be very painful.

  • Functional difficulties

     Difficulty going up or down steps, walking on unlevel surfaces, difficulty sitting in bleachers or church benches (cannot get through Sunday services), driving long distances especially when you try to get out of the car, standing in one place for long time e.g. cooking, and shopping becomes uncomfortable.

  • Chronic headaches

    Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 70% of fibromyalgia patients and can pose a major problem in coping for this patient group. The headache feels like somebody squeezing the back of the head.

  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome

    This syndrome, sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD, causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain in one-quarter of fibromyalgia patients. Typically, the problems are related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.

  • Other common symptoms

    Premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, dizziness, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations (bilateral carpel tunnel type symptom), muscle twitching, irritable bladder (incontinence), painful intercourse, the feeling of swollen extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, and impaired coordination can occur. Fibromyalgia patients are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, and sometimes even the medications they are prescribed.

  • Aggravating factors

    Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, infections, allergies, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion may all contribute to fibromyalgia symptom flare-ups.

Treatment options:

Though there are lists of multiple symptoms most of the treatment is geared towards managing sleep and pain. This may be due to the fact that most of the patient complaints are about those two problems.

  •  Medications

              Common sleep-aid medications (Ambien, Lunesta)

               Medications that boost your body's level of serotonin and norepinephrine (amitriptyline)

               Opioids for addressing moderate to severe pain

                Muscle relaxants, anti-epileptics

Medications may only work short term. Long term dosages needs to be increased or will become ineffective, and can have side effects. Medications will not address the real problem.

  • Trigger point injections with lidocaine: Gives temporary relief needs multiple injections in multiple sites.
  • These injections will not address the underlying problem.
  • Acupuncture/acupressure: Temporary relief.
  • Chiropractic care: sometimes may be helpful with co-existing spinal conditions but in our opinion spinal manipulation is not a good idea because many of these women suffer from osteoporosis.
  • Osteopathic manipulation: May help but precautions should be taken.
  • Therapeutic massage: In our opinion deep tissue massage should never be performed, this causes unnecessary pain and muscle soreness. Relief from gentle massage is temporary.
  • Gentle exercise programs.
  • Relaxation/biofeedback techniques.
  • Traditional Physical therapy: Traditionally in physical therapy clinics, fibromyalgia patients are offered aquatic therapy. Though water is a good way to do exercise, some FM patients are unable to tolerate high temperature therapypools but generally respond well to cooler pool temperatures.

How can a physical/occupational therapy clinic help me? As physical and occupational therapists we have a vast knowledge base about musculoskeletal, biomechanical conditions. Fibromyalgia is no exception! At Synergy Therapeutic Group we completely understand your condition and the inter-relation of your symptoms and treat your underlying cause, producing amazing results. Do not take our word for it; see what our patients are saying.
We strongly believe there are reasons why it affects mostly women. There must be some common link.

So if you or your loved one suffers from fibromyalgia, ask these questions:

  • Are you a female above the age of thirty five? 
  • Did you have a hysterectomy, with or without hormone replacement therapy?
  • Have you been in an automobile or other accident or abused?
  • Do you have any thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism? 
  • Do you smoke? 
  • How is your bone density?
  •  Did you gain weight 20 lb or more in recent years despite of your strict diet and exercise?
  •  Have you been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome?
  •  Are you diabetic, especially insulin resistant diabetes?
  •  Do  you have urinary incontinence?

If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, please continue reading for more information on fibromyalgia. This article will tell you how, why and what you can do about it.
Read full article (coming soon)

There is no reason to suffer needlessly, if you think you've tried everything, if you have been disappointed before, now is the time to give us a call.

I was having a great deal of pain when beginning the treatment, difficulty riding in the car, sitting, turning my head, lifting my arms and pain when walking and climbing steps. I now can raise my arms and turn my neck. I can get in and out of the car and sit in the car with much less pain. The pain level has gone way down, now I can perform all of my activities.

                                                                                                             (Ruth, Herrin,IL)

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