Everything you need to know about fibromyalgia

Geneviève St-Pierre

May 13, 2021

How to find relief from chronic pain

Do you experience pain that is difficult to explain or understand? Does your body feel weak or sore in particular regions? Fibromyalgia might be the source of your soreness.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain. It’s a serious condition, as it is linked to chronic pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances, and even depression. Patients deserve help, but they often aren’t sure how to approach the issue – especially because the pain itself is hard to explain for many.

In this guide, we’ve compiled plenty of useful information about this condition, including a few approaches to treatment.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning that its effects are long-term or permanent. It is most often associated with pain in muscles and bones, but can also cause tenderness, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.

Fibromyalgia is not a simple pain condition. In fact, patients often have a hard time explaining their own experiences or navigating healthcare institutions to get a diagnosis, since this condition is so similar to others.

Fortunately, there are many approaches you can take to manage pain from fibromyalgia. From therapy to habitual changes or medications, your quality of life can improve dramatically, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

You may experience a number of symptoms, though everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently.

Among the most common symptoms are:

  • Widespread pain, stiffness, soreness, or discomfort

  • Fatigue and restlessness

  • Foggy memory or loss of concentration

  • Headaches

  • Depression and anxiety

You may also experience:

  • Numb joints

  • Jaw pain

  • Digestive problems

Causes and risk factors

Health experts are not 100% sure why patients develop fibromyalgia. However, they have identified a few potential causes:

  • A change in the way the nervous system transmits pain messages

  • Low hormone count, including serotonin, noradrenaline, or dopamine

  • Genetics

  • Triggers, such as an injury or traumatic event

According to the CDC, the most common risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

  • Age

  • Lupus

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Getting a diagnosis

Ask your doctor about fibromyalgia. There is no particular test for fibromyalgia, but your doctor can rule out other potential causes for your pain, concluding that you have fibromyalgia by process of elimination.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, there are many techniques and strategies that patients can use to manage and even overcome their symptoms.

Do I need medication?

You do not necessarily need to be prescribed a medication to treat fibromyalgia. Your doctor will determine whether pain medication is necessary based on your individual circumstances.

Treatment approaches

Physiotherapy

A physiotherapist can help you fight back against many kinds of pain conditions. Physiotherapists are trained to listen and understand your pain – the location of it, the severity, and what might be triggering it. They can teach you the stretches, exercises, and coping skills you need to stop pain from taking over your life.

During a physiotherapy appointment, a dedicated professional will ask you about your pain and recommend strategies that you can practice in between appointments. The goal is to practice strategies that lead to comfort and even healing.

Learn more about physiotherapy

Acupuncture

Some patients choose to seek pain relief through acupuncture. This alternative treatment style is based on Ancient Chinese medicine practices. It involves placing small needles in the skin to activate ‘acupoints,’ or anatomic sites in the body. The treatment encourages the body to release endorphins while keeping the body’s functions circulating properly.

Acupuncture is simple and painless, and many patients find pain relief because of it. You may consider trying it if you experience fibromyalgia.

Trauma therapy

Many patients are believed to experience chronic pain as the result of a traumatic event or injury. Specifically, they find that pain is triggered by a reminder of their trauma. For that reason, doctors often recommend that patients with fibromyalgia seek a therapist. That way, they can address the root cause of their trauma and overcome it to some degree – ideally improving their pain condition as well.

Conclusion

Chronic pain can be extremely difficult to live with. From sleepless nights to depression and anxiety, the side effects that come from fibromyalgia can make this pain condition even more frustrating.

Fortunately, there are many avenues of treatment to take. Combined with visits to the doctor, you may try to conquer your pain by seeing a physiotherapist, acupuncturist, or massage therapist – or a combination of the three.

You don’t deserve to be alone in your fight against chronic pain. By trying different treatment options and being as open as possible with professionals who are dedicated to helping you, chronic pain will be far from impossible to overcome.

At Elysian Wellness Centre, our team of physiotherapists is trained to help you every step of the way as you learn to overcome your chronic pain.

Genevieve St-Pierre, Registered Acupuncturist

May 13, 2021

Geneviève is a passionate acupuncture specialist. She takes pride in being a detail oriented practitioner, providing the most beneficial treatments that are customised to every patient. She graduated with honours from the International Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Ottawa.