Fibromyalgia Resources

What is fibromyalgia? 

 

In simplest terms, fibromyalgia is a chronic, wide-spread pain disorder with sleep and/or memory problems. 

 

Fibromyalgia’s current diagnostic approach (per American College of Rheumatology 2010 guidelines) requires the presence of multiple areas of pain for over a certain amount of time in addition to symptoms of fatigue, waking feeling unrefreshed from sleep and/or cognitive problems in the absence of other health issues that would explain the pain and other symptoms. 

 

Fibromyalgia, may also present frequently with a constellation of other chronic conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, dysmenorrhea/endometriosis, hypermobility syndromes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, or PTSD. While fibromyalgia is classified more or less as an autoimmune or inflammatory disorder it has wide-reaching effects in the realm of other areas of medicine and may be missed for many years before it is properly addressed, sometimes after receiving surgical intervention that may not have been necessary. 

 

How do I treat fibromyalgia? 

 

It is important to state that there is not a simple, definitive cure for this condition. But there are a number of ways it can be managed to reduce the suffering that often comes alongside the pain. 

 

Medications:

 

  • Pain relief: Tylenol, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter options in moderation

  • Antidepressants: duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may help in treating both the pain and the other functional symptoms, these act on neuronal pathways that are involved in pain sensitivity that causes fibromyalgia

  • Anti-seizure drugs: gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica) may help reduce symptoms; Lyrica has been approved by FDA specifically for fibromyalgia

 

What about opioids? 

 

Opioids have been proven in several studies to be largely ineffective at controlling pain in patients with fibromyalgia. This is likely due to the inability of opioids to work on the pain pathways that are thought to be involved in fibromyalgia. Notably, many people do worse with daily opioid use as it affects sleep, reduces ability to engage in active pursuits and can worsen depression. (source

 

Physical Therapy & Bodywork

  • Physical Therapy is an incredibly important part of fibromyalgia management to help maintain use of common pain areas and keep motion present in a safe way; although tissue damage is often not the cause of pain in fibromyalgia, those with fibro are at increased risk of pain with milder forms of tissue damage, and prevention is key for maintaining a safe exercise regimen

  • Occupational Therapy may be beneficial for those whose mobility and activities of daily living are significantly impacted by pain - an OT can help identify ways of doing needed movements/activities in a safe and less painful approach and improve day-to-day function

  • Manual therapies: osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), massage, acupuncture, etc all can play an important role in controlling pain, improving mindful movement and use of the body and reducing the accompanying symptoms of fibromyalgia. Caution around forceful forms of body work is recommended due to the way that significant body work activity can cause a pain flare if not done mindfully 

  • Exercise in moderate amounts can help with sleep in a significant way, working with PT/OT or a qualified athletic trainer who can work within your limitations can be very helpful 

 

Other Resources

  • Meditation Apps

    • Calm has numerous guided meditation options and a lot of very soothing options for helping you fall asleep, especially recommend the meditations on pain as well

  • Electrical Heat Pad: 

  • Cold Packs: LINK

  • Mobility Aids → variable, dependent on what your needs are 

HellonWheels Design for bespoke mobility aids that add a punk flair