Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain that is typically accompanied by fatigue and a variety of other symptoms. It is not a sign of a serious underlying condition and does not increase the risk of other illnesses, however, it can seriously affect the quality of life as the pain often interferes with the patient’s abilities to perform everyday activities. Widespread and persisting pain can also cause sleep disturbances, while the frustration of managing the pain can affect the sufferer’s mood, emotional state and relationship with other people which in turn can lead to depression. This painful disorder can be helped and it can be successfully controlled with a combination of medications, self-care measures and treatment at the Willows Clinic Dublin useing The Perrin Technique.
Fibromyalgia symptoms often start after a physical trauma, severe emotional distress or infection but the widespread muscoloskeletal pain can also begin without an obvious trigger. What causes this painful disorder remains unknown but it is more likely to be developed by women and people who have a close biological relative suffering from the condition.
The most characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- muscular, joint and nerve pain on both sides of the body both bellow and above the waist which persists more than three months
- and worsening of the pain when an additional pressure is applied to tender points. These are located on the inner knees, top of shoulders, between shoulder blades, back of the head, upper hips, sides of hips, front sides of the neck and some other specific parts of the body (18 in total) These are all tested along with a full consultation and examination on your first visit to Andy Smith at the Willows Clinic Dublin.
Just about all fibromyalgia sufferers also experience fatigue which can be ME or CFS running along side the fibromyalgia, while difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep can lead to insomnia. Other fibromyalgia symptoms may include:
- back pain
- chronic headaches
- difficulty concentrating
- abdominal pain
- sleep apnea
- irritable bowel syndrome
Since there are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose the condition and since its symptoms are very similar to those caused by other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), osteoarthritis, polymyalgia and hypothyroidism, the doctors usually diagnose fibromyalgia by exclusion. Only now Andy smith at the Willows Clinic use the Perrin Technique to test and diagnose on the day for Fibromyalgia and ME and CFS. This system has worked for many clients of the clinic and starts full clinical trials with the NHS in England from the 1st May 2013.
Unfortunately, some of the mentioned conditions that cause symptoms similar to those in fibromyalgia cannot be diagnosed with laboratory test either which often makes the diagnosis of fibromyalgia very challenging. In addition, it is possible to have two conditions at the same time. Many people have both fibromyalgia and CFS or ME which is why some health experts including DR Perrin believe that they are related. Fortunately, treatments for both disorders are very similar and usually do not interact with treatments for other conditions either. The Perrin Tehnique being very successful at treating all these disorders.
The pain is managed with pain relievers such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescription strength analgesics, depending on severity of the pain. Patients may also be prescribed antidepressants to promote sleep and relieve fatigue.
Self-care is an important part of fibromyalgia management and we teach this as part of our treatment model. Stress which tends to worsen its symptoms unfortunately cannot be avoided but there are many ways to relieve its harmful effects. Examples include meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. But generally, everything that helps you relax can be defined as an effective stress management technique. Light exercise helps relieve the pain as well although it may initially worsen it. Just as important is to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet that is high in vitamins, minerals, fibers and other essential nutrients.