Fibromyalgia: Effective Treatments and Solutions from The Devon Clinic CIC
Fibromyalgia also called Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes pain all over the body.
The Devon Clinic CIC is pleased to offer Fibromyalgia treatments from the following local practitioner(s):
More About Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia comes from three Latin words Fibro, My and Algia meaning fibrous tissue, muscles and pain respectively.
The condition doesn’t just affect the muscles, ligaments and tendons, its effects are felt over the entire body which results in widespread pain and fatigue.
Formerly known as Fibrositis, meaning inflammation of muscles and tissue, the name was changed to Fibromyalgia after research found there was no inflammation.
Estimations show that 0.7-4.5 percent of the global population are affected, with England and Wales having an estimated 1.76 million diagnosed adults.
Fibromyalgia can affect anyone, although the condition tends to affect more women than men in the age category of 30-60 years. There have been diagnosed cases of children and the elderly but these are rarer.
As the condition is yet to be fully understood, currently there is no cure but many treatments have been developed and used in the easing of symptoms.
Treatments for Fibromyalgia are generally a combination of the following:
- Medications such as antidepressants and painkillers
- Talking therapies such as psychotherapy, counseling, and hypnotherapy
- Lifestyle changes such as relaxation and improved sleeping routines
- Regular Exercise such as walking, stretches and light gym work
For most, Fibromyalgia is a permanent condition, although severity can vary widely. Many have found support groups provide an important network of people where they can talk about the condition and get advice from people who know and understand.
There are many symptoms of Fibromyalgia. The variety and severity vary from person to person, and some can come and go over time. It is unlikely that symptoms will completely disappear.
Symptoms can depend on several factors including changes in the weather, stress, lifestyle, diet and physical activity.
The main symptom of Fibromyalgia tends to be a widespread pain. Certain areas of your body may be affected more, the back and neck being two examples. The levels of pain can vary and may become worse or lessen at different times. The pain may feel like an ache, a burning sensation or a sharp stabbing pain.
Fibromyalgia can cause extreme sensitivity to pain all over the body. You may find that a light touch is very painful and that if you stub your toe, the pain continues for a far longer period that it would for a person without this condition.
Medical descriptions can include:
- This means you are extremely sensitive to pain
- This means you feel great pain for something that should not cause pain. For example, someone touching your arm.
You may find that you are sensitive to other things including smoke, bright lights, and certain food flavors. Exposure to these may increase your symptoms causing a flare up.
Fibromyalgia can make you feel stiff especially when you have been in a position for prolonged periods, such as waking up from sleeping. Muscle spasms where the muscle contracts can be very painful.
Fatigue can range from being mildly tried to feel exhausted and akin to flu-like symptoms. Sometimes the onset of fatigue can be sudden, draining of all energy causing you to feel too exhausted to do anything.
You may find that you wake up tired despite having had plenty of sleep. This is due to Fibromyalgia preventing you from falling into a deep enough sleep to refresh you properly. This is often referred to as non-restorative sleep.
Cognitive problems often referred to as Fibro-fog
Cognitive problems may affect mental processing such as thinking and learning. Those with Fibromyalgia may have trouble remembering new things, shorter attention and focus span, slowed or confused speech and headaches.
If you suffer from pain/stiffness in your neck and shoulders you may also have frequent headaches. These can vary, like many symptoms, from mild to severe. Other symptoms may be exasperated such as nausea and blurred vision.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS can develop because of Fibromyalgia. This is a common digestive condition that affects millions of people the world over. IBS causes abdominal pain and bloating. Constipation and diarrhea are also common symptoms. Changes in the diet can help elevate some of the symptoms.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:
- Restless leg syndrome. A feeling of constantly needing to move your leg
- A noise in the ear(s) that only you can hear.
- Being unable to regulate your temperature. Constantly feeling either too hot or too cold.
- Painful periods. When the pain is so severe you are unable to perform daily tasks.
- Feeling low and tense all or most of the time.
- Low levels of Serotonin combined with this complex illness can often lead to depressive symptoms.
If you are feeling constantly low, have lost interest in things you previously enjoyed and/or are particularly more tearful than usual it would be an idea to contact your doctor for support and advice.
Your doctor is the best person to advise you on medication(s) that may be suitable for you. Alongside medication, there are other options available to help you cope with the pain of Fibromyalgia.
- Spending time in a heated pool either swimming or relaxing.
- A tailored exercise routine.
- Psychotherapy-a therapy that helps you understand and deal with thoughts and feelings.
- CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) -a talking therapy that changes the way you think about things turning negativity into positivity.
- Physiotherapy-Using techniques such as massage and stretching.
- Relaxation-Hypnotherapy, meditation and gentle yoga or Pilates.
- Psychological support groups and counseling.
Some Fibromyalgia suffers have said that using alternative therapies has helped ease their symptoms. Acupuncture and hypnotherapy are proven popular alternative treatments. Do contact your GP before taking an herbal remedy as these can interact with prescription medications.
If you have been diagnosed with a second condition such as depression, a separate treatment plan may be used. For example, additional counseling or medication.
Fibromyalgia is also sometimes known as: