An in-depth exploration of fibromyalgia: part 2

Written by: Dr Husham Al-Shather
Edited by: 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

By Dr Husham Al-Shather
Pain medicine

Dr Husham Al-Shather is a highly renowned and experienced consultant in pain medicine, who specialises in back pain, neck pain, headache, sciatica, musculoskeletal pain, as well as fibromyalgia but to mention a few. His main areas of research interest lie in complex regional pain syndrome, widespread pain, new pain medications and the use of ultrasound in the general field of pain medicine

To-date, Dr Al-Shather has obtained a vast amount of experience in relation to the management of various acute and chronic pain conditions, and offers his patients a wide and comprehensive variety of both interventional and non-interventional treatments for patients suffering from acute and/or chronic pain. Since joining The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust as a consultant in pain management, Dr Al-Shather has developed an excellent reputation when it comes to providing patients with optimal clinical care.

Thus far in his medical career, he has distributed numerous amounts of injections and a whole host of procedures with no reports of infection, major complication or readmission to hospital. He provides a substantial amount of treatments, with the main ones including steroid injections, botox injection, epidural injections for neck, upper and lower back pain, nerve blocks, sympathetic blocks, radiofrequency treatment of shoulder, hip and knee joints as well as radiofrequency treatment of facets and sacroiliac joints. 

He successfully completed higher specialist training in both pain management and anaesthetics at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals in London, and undertook his training in advanced pain at St George's Hospital and Ashford & St Peter's Trust prior to completing further training in regional anaesthesia at Queen Victoria Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine and a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. 

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Platelet-rich plasma
    Ozone therapy
    Botulinum toxin (Botox™)
    Sedation and general anesthesia
    Pelvic pain
    Neuropathic pain
    Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
    Elbow Pain
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.