What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disease that is characterized mainly because the patient has pain, pain in different territories. It is a diffuse pain that at least refers to it for 3 months. Patients describe to us that even when touching they hurt, they are non-painful stimuli that cause pain and stay in time. They can become invalidantes, the patient greatly diminishes their quality of life and deserves to be studied. In the usual medical analysis, other causes of diffuse pain should be ruled out and that is capital, a unit of pain should be used where other causes will be excluded.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia has a constellation of symptoms. It is not only the pain in the joints, in the muscles, there are very prevalent things like pain when chewing, pain in the lower belly, insomnia, worrying insomnia, patients do not rest, chronic fatigue. Up to 60% of patients have chronic fatigue, have a non-restorative sleep and all of these symptoms should be treated globally.
What treatments can be offered for fibromyalgia?
The first thing we will do with the patient suspected of having fibromyalgia is to rule out having secondary diseases that deserve a separate treatment. Once this is excluded we will start using the drugs that have less side effects, drugs that we call antihyperalgesics. Some have some antidepressant capacity but the patient must be confident that the appropriate dose will be given and always under a strict control monitoring the response. There are neuromodulatory treatments, there are treatments such as acupuncture, physical exercise and above all the treatment of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Occasionally, if we find any pathology that can generate a pain that is expressed especially in any part of the body and a certain pathology is found below that is inflammatory, the patient can benefit from an infiltration that is minimally painful, performed with local anesthesia and gives good results.
Does the treatment cure the disease?
Fibromyalgia at this time has no cure, has relief. There is a lot of research on fibromyalgia. We have sincere hopes, well-founded hopes that in the near future we will be able to offer patients better treatment. At the moment the expectations are of considerable relief of the pain but not of cure.
What advice would you give to people with fibromyalgia?
The Pain Unit specialist would tell them to seek professional advice in order to first see if it is a primary fibromyalgia, that means that it is not associated with other diseases, if it is associated, it will deserve a different treatment. What should you do to help yourself? must stay active and above all have a restful sleep. This is fundamental, if the body does not rest at night, if you get up in the morning and tired, it will hurt more. You must control all those stressors that surround you, whether family or work. For that you may need psychological help. There are aerobic exercise techniques from tai chi, aquagym or walking that you should explore.