Though first described in the 19th century, many patients with fibromyalgia go years with complaints of all-over body pain, fatigue, and fuzzy thinking before getting the right diagnosis.
Many people have a hard time wrapping their head around this complex pain disorder, which may be why some health care professionals still say, “Fibromyalgia does not exist.”
At Interventional Pain Associates in Austin, Texas, our pain management expert, Dr. Sarosh Saleemi, spent years researching fibromyalgia. She wanted to better understand the pain disorder so she could find better ways to treat it.
Here, we want to share with you some lesser-known facts about fibromyalgia.
Researchers are still learning about fibromyalgia, including its cause(s). What we know is that fibromyalgia isn’t an autoimmune disorder or a muscle disorder. But the pain may have something to do with the nervous system, specifically the central nervous system (CNS) — the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Saleemi’s research uncovered that many patients with fibromyalgia have undiagnosed nerve-root pathology — radiculopathy or pinched nerves at the spine.
Though, that may not fully explain why you have widespread pain and brain fog. Your genes may put you at risk of developing the pain condition, and an underlying trigger, such as physical or emotional stress, an injury, or an infection, alters how your body interprets pain, amplifying the sensation.
Fibromyalgia occurs in people of all ages. However, the pain disorder affects twice as many women as men and tends to appear between the ages of 30 and 35.
The reason why fibromyalgia is more common in women is unclear. Researchers say there are many possible factors ranging from hormones to gender bias.
There’s a strong connection between fibromyalgia and mental health challenges like depression. Women may be more likely to seek help for their mental well-being than men, which may explain why women are more often diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men.
Your genes aren’t the only risk factors for fibromyalgia. Having other pain conditions, such as migraines or temporomandibular joint disorder may also put you at risk.
It’s also common for people with fibromyalgia to have other health problems that co-occur with the pain condition, like irritable bowel syndrome or major depression.
We utilize many treatments and therapies to help our fibromyalgia patients get relief from their pain. Though we provide interventional pain treatments such as anesthetic and steroid injections, nondrug treatments are as important.
In fact, exercise is considered one of the most beneficial treatments to ease the pain, fatigue, and brain fog symptoms of fibromyalgia. We refer our patients to physical therapy for personalized programs, but all types of exercise work, like swimming, strength training, and yoga.
Fibromyalgia is a complex pain disorder that we’re still trying to understand. But we do know that when it comes to treatment, no single method works for everyone.
There’s no need to suffer with your fibromyalgia. Let us help you find the treatments that give you relief. Call our office or click the “book online” button to make an appointment today.