Health Topic Archives

Fibromyalgia

If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may be wondering what the disorder means for you. The condition still remains a mystery, although an estimated 3 to 6 percent of Americans, predominantly women, have fibromyalgia syndrome. Even diagnosing the condition can be complex: according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it can take a patient up to 4 years to be accurately diagnosed.

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with:

Some fibromyalgia experts say, however, that many people may still have fibromyalgia with fewer than 11 tender points if they have widespread pain and several other common symptoms, including:

Correct Diagnosis Is Key

Correct diagnosis of fibromyalgia is very elusive, so if you are diagnosed with the disorder—or suspect that you have it—seek the opinion of more than 1 health care provider. Other conditions may create fibromyalgia—like pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. Ruling other conditions out first is very important.

In addition to clinical evaluation that will assess possible causes of your pain, your doctor may need to order blood work to determine if you have:

If the tests show that you have 1 of these conditions, treatment will focus on addressing that problem first. If your pain is caused by a muscle or joint condition, chiropractic care may help relieve it more effectively than other therapies.

Treatment Alternatives

If no underlying cause for your symptoms can be identified, you may have classic fibromyalgia. The traditional allopathic approach includes a prescription of prednisone, anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants, sleep medications, and muscle relaxants. These temporarily relieve the symptoms, but they do produce side effects. If you prefer a natural approach, the following suggestions may be helpful:

Your doctor of chiropractic has the knowledge, training, and expertise to help you understand your problem and, in many cases, to manage it successfully. Remember, however, that the treatment program can be successful only with your active participation. If your doctor of chiropractic feels that he or she cannot help you, you will be directed to another health care provider.

© 2014 Copyright American Chiropractic Association.

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