FAQ’s on Fibromyalgia Treatment in Las Vegas

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by widespread pain and tender points. Patients with fibromyalgia report that the pain moves from body area to body area, and is intermittent (comes and goes). People with this condition also have chronic fatigue, joint arthralgias, and sleep problems.

What is the cause of fibromyalgia?

Experts do not know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but they theorize that the condition has a genetic component. Triggering factors include arthritis, spinal problems, injury, emotional and/or physical stress, infection, sleep disturbances, and abnormal pain response.

What are the risk factors for fibromyalgia?

Risk factors for this condition include:

  • Female gender – Fibromyalgia affects mainly women, but it does occur in men.
  • Advancing age – Middle-aged persons are affected most often.
  • Certain joint/bone conditions – Includes rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and osteoarthritis.

Is fibromyalgia a common condition?

Fibromyalgia affects around 3% of the general population. This condition has no cure, but the symptoms are controllable.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body. Patients with fibromyalgia have multiple tender points, which are small areas that are tender to touch. The associated symptoms include sleep problems fatigue, memory difficulties, dry mouth, headaches, tenderness of the body, tingling of the hands/feet, pelvic pain, and sleep problems. Many patients with fibromyalgia also suffer from depression and/or anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as restless leg syndrome (RLS).

How does the doctor diagnose fibromyalgia?

If the pain specialist suspects you have fibromyalgia, he/she will conduct a physical examination and assess tender points on the body. Diagnostic testing is done to eliminate serious medical conditions. Blood tests include C-reactive protein, thyroid function studies, liver function tests, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The symptoms must be present for at least three weeks for a diagnosis to be made.

How does the doctor treat fibromyalgia?

Optimum therapy involves use of a combination of treatments. Treatment options include:

  • Trigger point injections (TPIs) – Trigger points are painful muscle regions where the skin is tender. The doctor can inject these points with an anesthetic agent. A recent research study found TPIs to have a 98% efficacy rate.

 

  • Botox injections – Just as with TPIs, the doctor can inject the painful tender regions with Botox. This paralyzes muscle regions and alleviates tension and pain. In a recent clinical study, Botox was proven to improve functional ability and offer significant pain relief for patients with fibromyalgia.

 

  • Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese therapy involves insertion of fine needles into the skin and muscles along the painful body regions. This stimulates endorphin release and restores energy flow.

 

  • Medications – There are three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia. These include Savella, Cymbalta, and Lyrica, which works by blocking nerve cell activity. The pain specialist may also prescribe analgesics and topical pain relievers, such as capsaicin and salicylates.

 

  • Herbal remedies – These include S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), which relieves morning stiffness and fatigue, melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and Chorella, which is a pain reliever.

Resources

Dhadwal, N, Hangan, MF, Dyo, FM, Zeman, R, & Li, J (2013). Tolerability and efficacy of long-term lidocaine trigger point injections in patients with chronic myofascial pain. International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Lawrence RC, Felson DT, Helmick CG, et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part II. Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):26–35.

McDonald M, DiBonaventura M, Ullman S. Musculoskeletal pain in the workforce: the effects of back, arthritis, and fibromylagia pain on quality of life and work productivity. J Occup Environ Med 2011;53(7):765-770.

Smith HS, Audette J, & Royal MA (2002). Botulinum toxin in pain management of soft tissue syndromes. Clin J Pain, 18(6 Suppl):S147-54.