The cause of your muscular or musculoskeletal pain?
When you’ve been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for the first time, we understand that the news may cause you a variety of emotions. You may feel relief that there is a “diagnosis” for your pain condition. You might feel despair because of a lack of research or effective treatment options for fibromyalgia. Or you might feel confusion about what to do next. Of course, you could feel all of these emotions and more!
Fibromyalgia is a condition in which a variety of different bodily systems are involved, causing widespread pain and fatigue. It can also be associated with other health conditions such as mood disorders or mental illness. The pain of fibromyalgia can be very severe, and is often seemingly brought on without much provocation.
There is some debate in the research as to the specific causes of fibromyalgia, but the one thing that is beyond doubt is that fibromyalgia is associated with a sensitisation of your central nervous system – which means that sensations that are normally felt as “normal” begin to be felt as “painful”.
What does a diagnosis of fibromyalgia mean?
In the textbooks, fibromyalgia is defined as “a syndrome characterised by chronic widespread pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 predefined tender points”. However, this doesn’t tell us much about what is causing your tenderness and chronic pain to occur.
Unfortunately, it is also common that patients who have chronic myofascial pain (i.e. pain of peripheral muscular origin) are misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia by well-meaning doctors or allied health professionals. At other times, the symptoms that you present with may not match anything else, and you are lumped with a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
The good news is that all people with chronic pain, regardless of diagnosis, have the same thing happening to them: their central nervous system becomes sensitised. This means that they can, by and large, all be treated using similar principles.
What’s important is that you are assessed very carefully by a clinician who knows what to look for with your chronic pain condition, and that the treatment program designed needs to be tailored specifically to you.
What are the common treatment methods for fibromyalgia?
As tough as it is, the best treatment methods for fibromyalgia are those that are patient-driven, such as learning the facts about your pain condition, and then being courageous enough to begin a low-level program that involves movement and strengthening.
At The Headache and Pain Management Centre, we are able to offer these fibromyalgia treatment strategies by combining a mixture of:
- Pain education – knowing what your pain is all about is extremely important, as it allows you to make better decisions about what you can and can’t do;
- Aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening – no matter how small the gains, better movement results in an increase in your “good” hormones, and pain free movement of any joint helps to desensitise your nervous system; and
- Passive treatments – trigger point dry needling, massage, or general physiotherapy techniques are useful short term solutions to manage any “acute” flare ups – but these must be used in conjunction with more active, patient driven methods like those listed above.
How can The Headache and Pain Management Centre help your fibromyalgia?
If you’re living with fibromyalgia, the key to your treatment is first having the correct diagnosis about the causes of your pain condition. For this reason, we ensure our initial consultations are at least an hour in length.
This longer appointment gives you the time to tell us your pain story, to be comprehensively assessed, accurately diagnosed, and still begin your fibromyalgia treatment on the first day.
We will ask you to tell us your goals, so that we’re able to design a comprehensive, goal-driven treatment plan to allow you to get back to doing the things that you want to do.
By combining pain education, gentle exercises and our unique fibromyalgia treatment strategies, a life where pain is not such a massive burden is possible.
To find out more about fibromyalgia or to make an appointment, fill out the form above or contact The Headache and Pain Management Centre on 1300 16 55 33.