Your brain, in serving your best interest, is quick to register fresh pain. When you stub your toe or burn your hand, signals travel from your nerves to the brain and back again. You wince and grab your foot or drop the hot object you were carrying. The brain’s goal is simple: it wants to protect you from prolonged hurt.
That said, the brain has a hard time forgetting old pain. Randy Rieland for Smithsonian Magazine reports that “any pain lasting longer than a few minutes leaves a trace in the nervous system.” People with fibromyalgia understand this concept better than most and must often seek out long-term pain management solutions.
If you reside in San Antonio and are living with pain associated with fibromyalgia, Dr. Raul Martinez and his team at Texas Pain Specialists can offer you fibromyalgia pain relief.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, more common in women than men, is a neurological disorder typified by near-constant musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and limited mental focus. It often occurs in tandem with irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and temporomandibular joint disorders.
A pain physician will deem fibromyalgia “widespread” if a patient experiences pain on both sides of the body and above and below the waist. Common tender points for people with fibromyalgia include joints, like the knees and elbows, and the neck, among others.
While there is no direct test for fibromyalgia, blood tests can rule out autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis. A physical exam will also help doctors determine if a person’s pain is related to fibromyalgia. If it is, the physician can work with the patient to devise the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain.
Common Causes of Fibromyalgia
Doctors still aren’t sure about the direct causes of fibromyalgia, but they have been able to make connections across patient histories to isolate some contributing factors:
- Genetics: While genes alone do not guarantee a person will develop fibromyalgia, the disorder often runs in families.
- Physical trauma: Fibromyalgia symptoms often emerge following (or alongside) physical trauma. For example, a person who has been in a car accident may develop fibromyalgia and experience pain beyond what the physical injury itself caused.
- Emotional trauma: Emotional stress, like depression or anxiety, can precipitate the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Essentially, doctors believe that fibromyalgia occurs when chemicals in the brain alter how the brain communicates with the nervous system. Old pain and new pain become stored in the body at amplified levels. In turn, a person’s overall sensitivity to pain increases as a result of these louder levels.
Symptoms Associated with Fibromyalgia
Some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Pain and stiffness throughout the body
- Sleep problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Headaches, including migraines
- Cognitive difficulties (e.g., focus, memory)
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is time to speak to a doctor about fibromyalgia treatment.
While treatment for fibromyalgia is not the same for everyone, medication and self-care can increase a patient’s overall comfort and quality of life.
Physicians will typically approach your symptoms, such as fibromyalgia back pain, from a few different angles. The most common treatments for fibromyalgia include:
- Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), to balance the chemicals in the brain and moderate pain response
- Medications like pregabalin that block the overactivity of the nerve cells that are part of pain transmission
- Injections of lidocaine or steroids into tender pressure points
- Physical therapy, with a focus on gentle, low-impact stretches and exercises designed to stabilize the core and lower back
- Physical exercise with a focus on aerobics
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with a focus on understanding and processing pain on an emotional level
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are many treatments that will alleviate the pain associated with fibromyalgia. A board certified physician at Texas Pain Specialists will work with you to map out the best pathway toward decreasing your pain.
An End to Debilitating Fibromyalgia Pain Is Here
If you live in San Antonio and experience debilitating fibromyalgia pain, Dr. Raul Martinez and his associates at Texas Pain Specialists would like you to know that hope is within reach. There are many successful treatment options for fibromyalgia.
While other doctors may have dismissed or minimized your pain, our team is committed to locating its source and working with you to figure out the best treatment. You are not alone. The physicians at Texas Pain Specialists are on your side.
You deserve comfort and freedom. Our team wants to partner with you to help you regain control of your life. With fibromyalgia, pain is inevitable, but suffering does not have to be.