An in-depth exploration of fibromyalgia: part 2

Escrito por: Dr Husham Al-Shather
Editado por: Aoife Maguire

In the second article of a two-part series, leading consultant in pain medicine Dr Husham Al-Shather further explores fibromyalgia, explaining the principal symptoms and treatment options for the condition.



What are the principal symptoms of fibromyalgia?


Aside from the intense pain characteristic of fibromyalgia, individuals with this chronic pain condition may also experience a range of other symptoms. If you suspect you may be developing fibromyalgia, here are several symptoms you might encounter:


  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Morning stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Painful menstrual periods (in women)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Cognitive and memory issues (often referred to as "fibro fog")
  • Severe numbness or tingling sensations in various parts of the body
  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Sensitivity to sound and light



What are the treatment options for fibromyalgia?


Fibromyalgia is a long-term, chronic condition without a current cure. Nonetheless, there are alternative methods available to manage its symptoms. To mitigate the pain and discomfort for patients, doctors advocate for multidisciplinary approaches aimed at pain management and symptom alleviation. The primary treatment modalities for fibromyalgia include:




There are a number of nerve pain medications and antidepressants which can ease the intense pain individuals endure. Sleep medication can significantly improve sleep disturbances, helping you to have a peaceful night’s sleep. Medications targeting fibromyalgia symptoms are also beneficial for prolonged relief from the condition. Additionally, treatments like lidocaine infusions and injections may be options for certain patients.




Depending on the cause of fibromyalgia, engaging in therapy can assist in managing pain triggers. For instance, for injuries like those from road accidents, physiotherapy might be beneficial, while emotional triggers could be addressed through counselling. Various forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness, compassion-focused therapy, and psychotherapy can also address emotional and mood disturbances that affect quality of life.


Lifestyle changes


For individuals with a pain disorder like fibromyalgia, adopting specific lifestyle habits is crucial. Engaging in various exercises can alleviate pain and aid the body in adapting to it. Swimming, particularly in hot water baths (hydrotherapy), is highly beneficial. While graded exercise was previously recommended, the current focus emphasises personalised approaches with careful balance. Sleep, although often overlooked, plays a vital role in conditions like fibromyalgia.


Relaxation techniques


Exploring different relaxation methods can help alleviate the numbness and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia. Consider massage to relieve muscle tension, meditation to foster inner connection, and practices like yoga, pilates, and reiki.




If conservative approaches prove insufficient, specialised pain services can offer advanced interventions such as localised trigger point injections, epidural and nerve blocks for specific issues, and occasionally lidocaine infusions.





If you suffer from fibromyalgia and would like to book a consultation with Dr Husham Al-Shather, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile

Por Dr Husham Al-Shather
Unidad del Dolor

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