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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pain. The exact cause is unknown. Fibromyalgia is felt to be a central nervous system disorder that is described as a central sensitization syndrome that is caused by neurobiological abnormalities that produced pain and cognitive impairments. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2 to 4% of the population with females outnumbering males 7:1. It most commonly occurs between the ages of 20 and 50.

Symptoms:

  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Fatigue sleep disturbance
  • Heightened pain response to touch
  • Tingling of the skin
  • Prolonged muscle spasms
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle twitching
  • Cognitive impairment

What triggers symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Too much or too little rest
  • Too much or too little exercise
  • Weather changes

Diagnosis is based upon a history of pain lasting more than three months and tender points.

Management:

  • Psychological therapies (biofeedback, meditation)
  • Medications (including antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, opioids and others)
  • Exercise
  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Injection therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage

Conditions that mimic fibromyalgia:

  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases (i.e. hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus and AIDS)
  • Elevated blood calcium
  • Bone diseases (Paget’s disease)
  • Low thyroid hormone levels
  • Vitamin D insufficiency
  • Parathyroid disease
  • Muscle diseases (polymyositis)

If you experience pain your muscles that last for several months and is accompanied by significant fatigue one should see their doctor.

To learn more about Dr. Cotler or to schedule an appointment, please call us on (713) 523-8884.

Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS is board certified and recertified in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

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