A significant amount of people with chronic pain end up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Some patients have the known signs of tender points, while others experience more diffuse pain that is not localized to one specific anatomic area.
Fibromyalgia is not a distinct condition with a single pain generating mechanism. It is a common complicated condition that is characterized by a heightened pain perception with a number of precipitating factors. What is often seen is a wide variety of presenting complaints, such as headaches, shooting pains in the extremities, irritable bowel syndrome, generalized aching, and other endocrine problems.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Busy researchers, university professors, and veteran doctors do not understand the specific reason individuals end up with fibromyalgia diagnosis. A lot of the time individuals have an altered sleep pattern, restless leg syndrome, vitamin deficiencies, but there isn’t just a definitive cause to point out.
Some literature has displayed a relationship between fibromyalgia and pre-adolescent sexual abuse. Pre-adolescent sexual abuse can end up with a patient having problems of chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, hypertension, and potentially autoimmune diseases. During the evaluation of the patient, this should be asked.
Since fibromyalgia’s cause is not known, we can’t say that depression causes it, but it is often seen along with fibromyalgia. Multiple antidepressants have been shown to work well for fibromyalgia so it is known that depression is a common comorbidity. These include tricyclic antidepressants along with some others.
Fibromyalgia is definitely frustrating. The constellation of symptoms it comes with do not come from a known cause. Mental health often co-exists. A number of medications, some of which are FDA approved, work very well. They include tramadol, duloxetine, milnacipran, tricyclic antidepressants, and pregabalin. Interestingly, narcotics used to be commonly prescribed but have fallen out of favor due to their ineffectiveness. They can produce a condition called opioid induced hyperalgesia.
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