Fibromyalgia - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Fibromyalgia - Medical Malpractice
Fibromyalgia is not the same as arthritis, although many people confuse the two. Fibromyalgia does not affect the joints but affects the muscles and the soft tissue of the individual. There is chronic muscular pain, chronic tiredness, difficulty sleeping and painful tender points or trigger points in parts of the body. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that can be helped with various medications, changes in your lifestyle, management of stress and other treatments for fibromyalgia.
Doctors are studying the causes of fibromyalgia. Some believe it is related to hormonal imbalances and chemical changes in the body that affect the way the nerves signal the body. Others believe that muscles have more to do with fibromyalgia than nerves. They believe that stress, trauma or illness can trigger musculoskeletal changes that affect the body. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, appears to have a role in fibromyalgia. Too little serotonin leads to depression and lowered pain thresholds. The body may have problems with regulating Substance P, the chemical that creates pain in the peripheral nervous system.
Many more women get fibromyalgia than men. It is known that women have seven times less serotonin in the brain than men and this may explain the gender disparity. Changes in hormones related to menopause and the menstrual cycle may play a role in getting fibromyalgia or not. Some doctors believe that levels of human growth hormone may contribute to muscle pain but this is just one of many theories.
Stress and poor physical conditioning play a role in getting fibromyalgia. There may be micro-trauma to the muscles during mild activity that cause them to be painful with exercise. This theory is yet unproven. People with fibromyalgia get poor sleep. It is possible that a lesser amount of sleep contributes to getting fibromyalgia. Poor sleep means not enough serotonin so the two may be related to fibromyalgia symptoms. It used to be thought that depression led to fibromyalgia; however, now it is believed that the fibromyalgia leads to depression and not the other way around.
Fibromyalgia may have some hereditary component. The theory is that there is a genetic change in a person's DNA which makes them more likely to develop fibromyalgia. No one has determined exactly which genes may be involved.
The risk factors for fibromyalgia include being female, being in menopause, having a genetic predisposition to the disease, having recent surgery, having poor physical conditioning and having trauma to the brain or spinal cord following an accident, injury, illness or emotional distress.
The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include pain that changes in location from hour to hour or from day to day. The pain can change in intensity over time. There are numerous tender spots or trigger points that hurt when anyone touches them. The trigger points tend to be near joints and ligaments or near the insertions of muscles (the tendons). There is fatigue, poor sleep and depressive symptoms as well. Triggers for fibromyalgia can be a physical or emotional stressful event, a major illness or an immune disorder. You are more sensitive to pain than other people and moving about is a painful occurrence.
There are medications you can take for fibromyalgia. One approved medication is called Cymbalta, which has antidepressive qualities and seems to reduce pain in those who have fibromyalgia. Physical therapy also helps treat fibromyalgia and to strengthen the muscles and joints. Some people take antidepressants that increase serotonin (SSRIs), which take care of the low serotonin syndrome seen in fibromyalgia. General exercise seems to help as well, whether it be walking, cycling, swimming or yoga. You will often be treated by your family physician, with the help of a pain management specialist or rheumatologist.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here