Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Pain

How Osteopathy Can Help

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Pain

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating syndrome that typically presents within osteopathy as chronic pain throughout the body and extreme levels of tiredness.   The chronic pain  is often compared to a persistent dull ache. A patient may experience widespread pain and fatigue, with memory, mood and sleep issues. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can worsen the person’s distress. Between 2-4% of the population are estimated to have fibromyalgia and women are more likely to suffer than men.

People who have irritable bowel syndrome, tension headache, depression and anxiety and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders may be  predisposed to develop fibromyalgia and these conditions are commonly found together.  If you have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus you are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

What causes it?

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but doctors think that it may have a genetic component because it tends to strike members of the same family.   Sometimes it will manifest after a physical trauma, an infection, surgery or any other insult to the body including psychological stress.  People with the disorder have been shown to have altered neurotransmitter function, increased levels of ‘substance P’ which transmits pain impulses, altered blood flow to part of the brain and low levels of key amino acids in the muscles.  Nobody knows if these changes are a cause or a consequence of the disease.

 

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I came to Tracy because I had very bad back pains that were radiating through all of the left side of my body. The first time I saw Tracy I was in a absolute state but she was quickly able to see me and had a very gentle touch which was exactly what I needed. She also gave some tips and pointers for things to do at work to prevent pain. I was later also helped with pains in my wrist due to an old injury. She treated the wrist and the pain is completely gone. I would fully recommend Tracy, she is very professional and has helped me tremendously both with the treatment and answering all my questions.

Laurie Tack

Researchers think that fibromyalgia patients may have a lower pain threshold as a result of the way the disease affects the way the nervous system interprets pain and other physical sensations like touch.  And although it doesn’t lead to other diseases, the sleep disruption and deprivation can lead to health problems.

Diagnosis is complex and has changed in recent years.  It used to be thought that it was a rheumatic or musculoskeletal disorder but doctors now know that fibromyalgia is more than chronic musculoskeletal pain.  Previous methods did not credit the significance of fatigue, forgetfulness, sleep problems, gastrointestinal disturbance and other symptoms.  One of the original methods for diagnosing the disease relied on tender points being located in certain parts of the body – but this proved unreliable because so many people have tender points in those areas and do not suffer.   Diagnosis is now done with a 19 point checklist of symptoms such as where the patient felt pain in the past week before the exam, the severity of fatigue, waking unrefreshed and their ability to think clearly.  Points are also given for dizziness, depression, nausea and irritable bowel syndrome.  The final score is between 0-12 with a score of 7 indicating probable fibromyalgia.

There are many things that can give relief to fibromyalgia patients experiencing chronic pain and tiredness.   Treatment is always multidisciplinary, involving rheumatologists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and manual therapists.  I can help alleviate your pain using hands on treatment, gentle exercise and relaxation techniques – and I can refer you for further consultation in order that you get the best and most comprehensive care possible.

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