Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Treatment
Fibromyalgia, or FM, is a central nervous system disorder that is easily misdiagnosed because of the various symptoms that individuals may experience. From widespread pain to insomnia to depression, fibromyalgia symptoms are widespread and can vary according to each person. In fact, this ailment only started to be accepted in the medical community in the 1990s, when Dr. Frederick Wolfe headlined writing an article about the disease. To this date, doctors still debate whether this is a real medical condition, as the pain reported by patients is not eased by conventional medication used to treat pain, like Advil.
This highly-controversial disorder does affect many people; an article in The New York Times estimates that as many as 10 million people in America suffer from fibromyalgia, with most of them being middle-aged and older women. In studies conducted, scans of fibromyalgia patients’ brains showed differences from brains of unaffected people. WebMD reports the findings of an issue of the journal of Arthritis & Rheumatism, which explains that: “brain scans reveal that people with fibromyalgia are not as able to prepare for pain as healthy people, and they are less likely to respond to the promise of pain relief.” However, no lab tests have ever been able to prove or show the condition.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are incredibly diverse and affect different people in unique ways. Some can experience only one of the symptoms below, while others are debilitated by numerous symptoms at a time. Common symptoms include:
- Widespread Pain – Widespread and unexplained pain, especially of the joints and muscles
- Allodynia – Pain from pressure which should not normally cause pain
- Fatigue – Chronic fatigue and very little to no energy
- Insomnia – Problems falling and staying asleep
- Anxiety – Persistent or intermittent anxiety
- Depression – Depression and major depression symptoms
- Numbness – Numbness and tingling sensations
- Headaches – Tension headaches and migraines
- Mental Fog – Failure to concentrate, recall events or conduct daily activities
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Abdominal pain and related issues, such as diarrhea
- Stiffness – Stiffness in the joints after waking up or being in one position for some time
Since there are so many various fibromyalgia symptoms, and those suffering from the condition don’t respond to typical pain medicine, the first fibromyalgia treatment was only developed in 2007, when Pfizer came out with a prescription medication called Lyrica. Lyrica works by targeting nerve signals, which many believe helps with pain management. Many doctors still do not choose to prescribe fibromyalgia medicine as they feel that it is not real, and that their patients simply imagine their pain. However, Lyrica has been helping patients who experience pain from diabetes, shingles and seizures for some time; and it is also aiding some fibromyalgia patients.
Since 2007, there are a variety of new medications used to treat fibromylgia, including sleep medicine, antidepressants and other pain medicine. Some of these work for some patients, but not others, so it is not always easy to find a fibromyalgia treatment.
- Antidepressants – Currently, most doctors initially prescribe an antidepressant for this disease, as it also treats pain related to depression, which many individuals with fibromyalgia also report having. This medication raises the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which, in turn, raise the levels of endorphins, which the body uses to fight pain.
- Pain Relievers – As noted before, many fibromyalgia patients do not see an improvement from pain relievers. However, some have reported less pain from acetaminophen, or Tylenol.
- Muscle Relaxants – Muscle relaxants do what their name suggests, they relax muscles. This helps certain people who report muscle tension and problems with sleep.
Fibromyalgia Clinical Trials
There are currently Los Angeles fibromyalgia clinical trials going on. These research studies are essential to finding an actual cure to the chronic pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms. The more patients choose to participate in these LA clinical trials, the more chance that the proper fibromylagia treatment will be found sooner rather than later. If qualified, patients will be entered into a medical trial where they will have a chance to try out the newest fibromyalgia drugs on the market. The benefit to those participating is that these drugs are usually not yet available for purchase, even with a prescription from a doctor. The chance to try these new drugs gives patients a chance to improve their symptoms and live a pain-free life.
To learn more about Los Angeles clinical trials for fibromyalgia or other forms of medical issues, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.