A chronic disorder characterized by pervasive pain and tenderness in muscles and joints, fibromyalgia is sometimes thought of as a disorder similar to arthritis. However, unlike arthritis, which causes joint inflammation, fibromyalgia does not inflame joints, tissues or muscles.
It does share symptoms in common with arthritis, involving unrelenting fatigue, widespread pain and cognitive issues that may significantly interfere with your ability to work or perform simple daily activities. In addition, fibromyalgia, like arthritis, is classified as a rheumatic condition impairing soft tissues and joints.
The etiology of fibromyalgia remains elusive, but doctors think it may emerge following an emotionally or physically traumatic event, illness, recurring injuries or as a spontaneous disorder stemming from a dysfunctional central nervous system. Fibromyalgia could also have a genetic component, but more research needs to be done regarding the heritability of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia presents the following symptoms that often worsen, get better and then worsen again:
- stiffness (when other arthritis conditions are ruled out)
- Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, arms and legs
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Problems with memory, focus and concentration (“fibro-fog”)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Increasingly painful menstrual cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- Hypersensitivity to light, noise and temperature fluctuations
Fibromyalgia cannot be cured, but effective fibromyalgia treatment in NYC is available from experienced rheumatologists who understand how painful and debilitating fibromyalgia can be.
Your fibromyalgia doctor in New York City will discuss the following pain medications prescribed to relieve muscle and joint pain:
- Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that differs from aspirin because it acts on hormone levels in the body instead of nerve receptors.
Ibuprofen inhibits enzymes that convert an acid to the hormone prostaglandin H2, which is used to create various other prostaglandins that serve to mediate inflammation and pain. While ibuprofen seems to work better at relieving pain than aspirin, the latter is sometimes considered more effective as an anti-inflammatory medication.
- Acetaminophen: Also an analgesic and inflammation reducer, acetaminophen works to relieve pain by raising an individual’s pain threshold and affecting areas of the brain involved in body temperature homeostasis.
Exactly how acetaminophen alters the way the body and brain perceive pain is not well understood. While it does influence prostaglandin levels similar to ibuprofen, it is not considered a true NSAID.
- Prescription Pain Relievers: Commonly prescribed pain relievers for fibromyalgia include Tylenol with codeine, Oxycodone, Celebrex and Vicodin. Usually given to people who are suffering severe pain attributed to chronic illnesses, such as cancer or diabetic neuropathy, these pain medications may also be given for pain relief from fibromyalgia pain that does not respond to other medications.
Therapeutic massage therapy, performing Pilates-type exercises, chiropractic techniques and even acupuncture have all helped relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some dietary supplements containing herbs are currently being investigated as a complementary form of fibromyalgia treatment, but to date, no scientific proof exists validating the efficacy of dietary supplements for fibromyalgia.
In addition to prescribing medications and monitoring your lifestyle choices, your fibromyalgia doctor in Jersey City may also recommend the following:
- Make sure you get enough good, quality sleep. Avoid taking naps during the day and try taking a short walk when you start feeling fatigued.
- See a physical therapist once a week who can help you establish an exercise program. Although most fibromyalgia patients resist exercising because they are fatigued and in pain, research repeatedly indicates that exercising is highly effective at relieving pain and increasing energy levels.
- Eating a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and avoiding food additives such as nitrates and MSG. Rheumatologists also suspect that, in some people, fibromyalgia symptoms may be exacerbated by food allergies.
If you suspect you may be suffering from fibromyalgia or have fibromyalgia that is not responding to traditional treatments, call Regional Orthopedics today to schedule an appointment with a professional fibromyalgia doctor at one of our locations in Jersey City, Staten Island, New York City or Brooklyn.