Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complicated and often misdiagnosed or under diagnosed condition due to many reasons. Many practitioners do not have a great understanding of the syndrome. Some doctors even doubt its existence and write it off to hysteria or depression.  FMS is a non-inflammatory painful disorder of the soft tissues brought on in 50% of the cases following a flulike illness or a negative event such as physical or mental trauma. Women are 6x more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men, and mostly between the ages of 30-60. If one of your first degree relatives has been diagnosed, other family members are 8x more likely to suffer same illness than the average person in the population. The patient is often depressed, fatigued, sleeps poorly and has impaired occupational or social functioning. Pain is improved sometimes with mild activity or stress relieving situations. The patient may have chronic headaches, perception of swelling or numbness, and dizziness. Common laboratory tests such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C- reactive protein, creatine kinase and aldolase, thyroid stimulation hormone, CBC with differential, kidney and liver function tests, vitamin D are all normal when completed.

The predominant symptom is pain that is widespread throughout the body that tends to occur in well documented areas. There are documented areas in the front and back of the neck, upper back in between the shoulder blades, the elbow, the top of the buttock near the pelvis, the upper back of the thigh near the buttock and the knees.  These tender points are on both sides of the body and the practitioner uses a small amount of pressure (enough to blanch the skin) in these areas to formulate a diagnosis. The history is usually one of greater than 3 months of pain, widespread musculoskeletal pain, and excess tenderness in 11 of the 18 tender spots.

There are documented treatments that are indicated in the treatment of FMS. Often medications that are not as effective in the treatment are used, despite the evidence that there are drugs and treatments that have withstood the rigors of research and have performed well under this scrutiny. Combinations of nonpharmacologic and medications, physiotherapy and conditioning have been shown to reduce symptoms in numerous studies. It is important that the patient seek a fibromyalgia program that is uses evidence based guidelines for treatment and has all of the treatments available to help you with your condition.

To make an appointment for an evaluation, call Dr. Farley W. Brown, D.C, A.P.R.N., F.N.P.-C. at  817-274-CARE to schedule a time for an appointment and we will get started on helping you have success in finding more freedom from this painful condition.

  1. The 5 minute clinical consult 2012
  2. The Journal of Pain management: Fibromyalgia