Fibromyalgia and treatments for it

We all get run down at times, feeling fatigued and achy. Some people in the heartland feel like this most days, and have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Dr. Justin Puckett, from Complete Family Medicine, stopped by the set of Good Morning Heartland to tell us more about Fibromyalgia. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE to learn more.

Question: What is Fibromyalgia?

Answer: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about 5 million Americans. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient's symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles, but there are no measurable findings on X-rays or most lab tests. While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints or organs, the constant aches and fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life.

The hallmark of fibromyalgia is muscle pain throughout the body, typically accompanied by:

â?¢ Fatigue

â?¢ Sleep problems

â?¢ Anxiety or depression

â?¢ Specific tender points

Question: So how does a doctor diagnose Fibromyalgia?

Answer: One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of tender points in specific locations on the body. When these points are pressed, people with fibromyalgia feel pain, while people without the condition only feel pressure.

Question: So you mentioned the pain, and how it doesnâ??t cause any specific damage, is it real?

Answer: The pain of fibromyalgia can be intense. Because traditionally no lab tests or X-rays could confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, some patients were once led to believe this pain was "all in their heads." But the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real. Research suggests it's caused by a glitch in the way the body perceives pain.

Question: Who is at risk of getting Fibromyalgia?

Answer: Women between the ages of 25 and 60 have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia. Doctors aren't sure why, but women are 10 times more likely to have the condition than men. Some researchers believe genetics may play a role, but no specific genes have been identified.

Question: Do we know what causes it?

Answer: There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research has yet to pinpoint a clear culprit. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Others suggest a traumatic event or chronic stress may increase a person's susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.

Question: This sounds quite miserable. Are there any treatments?

Answer: Fibromyalgia was once the exclusive domain of rheumatologists. Today, the condition has captured the attention of a wide range of health care providers. Many people receive treatment through their primary care providers.

An important first step is identifying what makes your symptoms worse. Common triggers include:

â?¢ Cold or humid weather

â?¢ Too much or too little physical activity

â?¢ Stress

â?¢ Poor sleep

It is also recommended to get plenty of sleep. Also, it is important to treat any other medical conditions to minimize their influence, especially depression.

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to minimize pain, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders. Doctors may recommend medications that help ease your symptoms -- ranging from familiar over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs like amitriptyline. There are also prescription drugs specifically approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, which include Cymbalta (duloxetine), Lyrica (pregabalin), and Savella (milnacipran).

Question: Does Diet and Exercise have an impact on Fibromyalgia?

Answer: Exercise can relieve several fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve fitness. Exercising just three times a week has also been shown to relieve fatigue and depression. But it's important not to overdo it. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics are good forms of exercise to start with for people with fibromyalgia.

Some experts say diet may play a role in fibromyalgia -- just not the same role in all patients. Certain foods, including aspartame, MSG, caffeine, and tomatoes, seem to worsen symptoms in some people. But avoiding these foods won't help everyone. To find out what works for you, try eliminating foods one at a time and recording whether your symptoms improve.

Question: Does Fibromyalgia Get Better?

Answer: Many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms and quality of life improve substantially as they identify the most effective treatments and make lifestyle changes. While fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it does not damage the joints, muscles, or internal organs.

Complete Family Medicine1611 S. Baltimore

Kirksville, MO. 63501