Monday, March 28, 2011

Fibromyalgia Management: An Introduction

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder characterized by musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, general fatigue, soft tissue tenderness, and sleeping problems. The most affected areas include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvis, and hands. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia also experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that increase and wane over time.

While the underlying causes of fibromyalgia still remain a mystery, new studies continue to bring information on the basic mechanisms of the disorder. Most researchers agree that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system with neuro-endocrine and neurotransmitter dysfunction. Neurotransmitters of pain are in abundance while those that increase pain tolerance become dangerously low to be able to stave off the onset of pain.

Due to the variation of its symptoms, managing fibromyalgia requires a multidisciplinary approach. Physical rehabilitation and therapy, pain medications, and treatment for underlying injuries and illnesses are often prescribed for patients suffering from the disorder. Since chronic pain can also induce depression, psychological counseling and guidance are also recommended. The use of prescription medication, both for the chronic pain and psychological problems must also be strictly supervised since using them without a proper prescription can cause untoward side effects.