Fibromyalgia syndrome was first recognized as a disease in 1990. At the time, diagnosis was based on “tender points”, and well-meaning doctors would poke and prod patients all over their body to see where they were most sensitive. Luckily for everyone, tender points are no longer part of diagnosis! Although there is still much we do not know, our scientific understanding of fibromyalgia syndrome has grown tremendously since 1990.
The newest diagnostic criteria were agreed upon in 2016. Today, fibromyalgia syndrome consists of:
- Widespread and generalized pain
- Waking unrefreshed
- Cognitive symptoms
- Pain or cramps in lower abdomen
The pain you feel in your body is in all parts of your body. It’s not limited to just one limb or region. Your symptoms may at times be mild, and at other times may be continuous and severely disrupt your life.
The “cognitive symptoms” can be especially daunting. This “fibro fog” makes it hard to pay attention, focus on things and your surroundings, and remember things. Often, people with fibromyalgia syndrome are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.
Fibromyalgia affects every part of your life. Therefore, effective treatment must also involve many different parts of your life and who you are.
- Psychotherapy can help you learn how to manage your symptoms and communicate your needs to those around you. Your pain, distress, and impairment are real; they are not “just in your head”. These life disturbing problems have very real consequences in your life. Talking with a mental health professional can help you take care of yourself, feel supported, and navigate your new life.
- Chiropractic can help reduce pain, improve flexibility, and improve sleep.
- Acupuncture can help manage your pain and other symptoms.
- Naturopathic medicine may help you to identify and correct deficits in your lifestyle and diet so that you can live more fully.
- Massage therapy can help reduce pain, soreness, and stiffness.
People with fibromyalgia often have other medical or psychiatric diagnoses as well. Having a wellness team who is there to support you, listen to you, and believe you makes all the difference. If you have fibromyalgia syndrome and are feeling overwhelmed or at a loss, please contact us to see how we may be able to help.