Fibromyalgia is one of the most misunderstood illnesses affecting upwards of five million Americans every year. Characterized by musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, memory and mood issues, fibromyalgia amplifies pain sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
While fibromyalgia can affect men, between eighty and ninety percent of those diagnosed are women; often during the onset of middle age. Sometimes symptoms can appear after a physical trauma, surgery, infection, or other significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms can surface gradually, accumulating over time with no single triggering event.
While exact causes are still being studied, many researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain to increase its production of certain chemicals that signal pain. The brain’s pain receptors in turn develop a memory of the pain, becoming more sensitive and over-reactive to the already increased pain signals.
- Widespread pain: Often described as a constant dull ache that has persisted for at least three months throughout the body, above and below the waist.
- Fatigue: Sleep is often interrupted by pain, making a good night’s rest harder to achieve. This leads to a sustained fatigue even with increased durations of sleep. This can also lead to other sleeping disorders such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties: Often referred to as “fibro fog”, the constant pain that fibromyalgia induces makes it harder to focus, pay attention or concentrate on mental tasks at home and at work.
- Migraines and headaches: Due to the constant pain and the stress fibromyalgia raises it is understandable to learn that many sufferers also experience severe headaches and migraines.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: While a direct link has not been established, fibromyalgia causes undue stress and anxiety which can easily upset digestive systems leading to irritable bowel syndrome.
FIBROMYALGIA IS VERY REAL
Unfortunately, little is known about the disease. Because there are no direct causes that researchers can point to definitively, some are under the misperception that fibromyalgia is not real or at best, a psychosomatic reaction. Not being believed and having their constant debilitating pain dismissed as “all in their head” is one of the most frustrating aspects for those dealing with the effects of fibromyalgia and can lead to increased anxiety and depression.
Far too many people suffer through the effects of fibromyalgia rather than seek treatment simply because they fear no one will believe their condition. Integrative medicine specialist, Dr. Nosson Goldfarb, recognizes the very real effects of fibromyalgia and is committed to treating those suffering with this disease. If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia you don’t have to go through it alone.
While a cure remains to be discovered, pain management and other therapeutic methods can significantly reduce the effects of the disease and get you back to living the life you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Goldfarb.