You Deserve A Fibromyalgia Treatment Plan Done with Care: Learn More
By Bradley Wisler M.D.
Currently, there is a lot of debate around what is considered Fibromyalgia, its causes, and its derivation. With the growing research, we do know that it is a very real condition and not one that is made up or an overreaction. It is not linked to people with brain disorders or necessarily those who have psychological disorders. However, if you do suffer from anxiety or depression, you are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
It tends to affect more women than men and usually starts in middle age, with an increased likelihood of getting it as you get older. However, Fibromyalgia can occur in anyone of any race, gender, or ethnicity.
Doctors are still researching what the derivation of the disorder is, but if your family members suffer from Fibromyalgia, there is a higher likelihood that you could develop it too. However, it has shown up in patients who have no family history at all.
Doctors still do not know much about this disease, so it is hard to narrow down the triggers of Fibromyalgia in the body. However, doctors have a standard “algorithm” to treat the disease that involves a three-part fibromyalgia treatment plan tackling the biological, social, and psychological aspects associated with the symptoms of the disease.
Typical Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often associated with chronic, widespread, complex pain that shows up in multiple areas of the body. Your muscles and joints can become stiff or tender to the touch. You could also feel numbness or tingling sensations in your outer extremities.
Some cognitive difficulties include insomnia, general tiredness, and “brain fog,” which manifests in a loss of memory or an inability to concentrate as well. In general, you may perpetually not feel like yourself.
You may also experience heightened sensitivity to light, noise, odors, or temperature. As well as you could suffer from digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, or experience constipation. In fact, if you are already suffering from IBS, it is more than likely that you could develop fibromyalgia down the line.
The “Algorithmic” Fibromyalgia Treatment Plan
Doctors have come up with a standard treatment plan for Fibromyalgia, yet every patient is different. Typically, however, your doctor will look at your prior medical history to see what type of medications you are on in the past so that they can optimize the FDA medications available now to tackle the biological aspects of the disease.
There is a wide range of medical therapies on the market, such as FDA-approved antidepressants and Gabapentin, which are often associated with treating other diseases like epilepsy and nerve pain.
To support your mental health and improve your sleep, your doctor will usually refer you to behavioral therapy. Your therapist can teach you coping mechanisms to deal with stress, and any associated mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and give you good sleeping techniques. You also may be referred to a sleep specialist doctor as well if your sleep has been really impaired.
To improve the physiological aspects of Fibromyalgia, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist, who can share with you exercising tips to reduce your stress levels, reduce inflammation, and help you lose weight. Water therapy is another popular treatment because it works well, sometimes better than regular exercise. But exercise has to be consistent because the effects of exercise or even water therapy tend to only last a couple of days after doing it.
Nutrition is also important for reducing inflammation and optimizing good health to ease the painful symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Your doctor could refer you to a nutritionist to learn which foods to avoid that cause inflammation, such as those that are high in salt and in sugar.
Ultimately, your doctor will take a combined approach to tackle all the symptoms that can come from having Fibromyalgia and tailor their plan to your particular symptoms.
Separately, CBD may be a holistic at-home alternative in order to treat your pain. There is still a lot of ongoing research, and there are no FDA-approved CBD products on the market, so it is up to you if you wish to try this option. There have been some patients that claim that CBD helps them ease their pain. Some have said CBD has absolutely no effect on their pain. Regardless, CBD has no concrete evidence of being an effective pain reliever.
Plus, CBD is not regulated; therefore, products differ drastically. If you would like to try CBD for your pain, ensure you are getting it from a reputable source and from somewhere you can trust.
When to see a doctor if you think you have Fibromyalgia
All the symptoms of Fibromyalgia can occur from other disorders and diseases but experiencing them all together is a key indication that you may have this condition. If you are experiencing widespread pain, along with sleep problems, cognitive or mood conditions, feeling tender all over, and you are experiencing brain fog; it may be time to get tested for Fibromyalgia.
If you want to test your symptoms, the American College of Rheumatology 2016 has created a checklist to mark down the different areas that hurt and whether you are suffering from the other symptoms associated with the condition. Your doctor can clinically diagnose you based on the responses from that test.
It is even more imperative to use this test if you have already gone to your primary care physician and they have tested you for other conditions, done your lab work, checked whether you are malnourished, deficient in vitamins, etc., and all results are normal.
If you are planning to visit APC for your Fibromyalgia treatment, we want to assure you that you are not “crazy” and that this disease is not all in your head. It is a very real disorder, and the only way to treat it is with compassion and flexibility because everyone’s treatment plan is going to be different. We approach you with genuine care and therefore help to support you and guide you to living a better and happier quality of life.
Dr. Wisler, M.D., is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and Pain Management physician. Originally from Indiana, Dr. Wisler graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences. Dr. Wisler received his MD at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH.View Profile