Fibromyalgia is a serious medical condition that results in widespread pain and tenderness. However, this condition is unique in that it can affect patients very differently; for example, some people with fibromyalgia may experience significant fatigue that can interfere with their daily lives, whereas others may suffer from additional symptoms such as joint pain and soft tissue damage.
Unfortunately, researchers have not yet been able to pinpoint a primary cause of fibromyalgia, but it is believed that those who have suffered from physical trauma (car accident, repetitive injuries, etc.) may be at greater risk.
Why is Fibromyalgia Commonly Misdiagnosed?
Fibromyalgia can be extremely difficult to diagnose properly for a number of reasons. For starters, the most common symptoms (widespread pain and chronic fatigue) can easily be associated with other medical conditions. The same applies to some other common symptoms, such as memory issues, trouble sleeping, and sensitivity to light, temperature, and noise. For these reasons, it is not uncommon for fibromyalgia to be misdiagnosed as another condition, such as arthritis, sleep apnea, or even lupus.
The best way to ensure an accurate diagnosis for fibromyalgia is to get tested by a rheumatologist. Oftentimes, blood tests performed by a primary care physician or other specialist come back negative and the resulting diagnosis is Fibromyalgia. However, the actual condition may be something else entirely, such as Seronegative Rheumatoid arthritis, which would result in a different treatment plan for the best results.
Treatment Options For Fibromyalgia
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the good news is that there are treatment options available. The key is to start with the right doctor—somebody who is experienced in working with fibromyalgia patients. Generally, rheumatologists, who specialize in conditions affecting the soft tissues and joints, are the most capable medical professionals to treat conditions like fibromyalgia.
There are currently several FHA-approved drugs on the market to treat fibromyalgia, and other medications like analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be successful in treating symptoms directly. Furthermore, complementary therapies like dietary supplements and even certain exercises (such as Pilates) have been shown to be useful in reducing the frequency of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Ready to learn more about your fibromyalgia treatment options? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Oza or Dr. Roane at the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Treatment Center, servicing the Jacksonville and Orange Park areas.