Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Of Fibromyalgia (FM), By Dr. Byrum

Fibromyalgia is very common among the women between the ages of 35 and 60 years

Fibromyalgia is very common among the women between the ages of 35 and 60 years

According to an article published in Clinical Advisor, a Speaker at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 26th Annual NP meeting said that there is “not even a single laboratory or physical exam to identify Fibromyalgia (FM) even though it is one of the most prevalent chronic pain diagnosis in United States.”

Adding to this, Dr. Timothy D. Byrum, MSN, FNP, who is a clinical assistant professor at University of Alabama in Huntsville, said that FM pain varies from person to person and it is not very easy to be diagnosed, but it is real, common and widespread. Almost 5% of Americans have FM and most of them are women between the ages of 35 and 60 years.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia (FM)

  • Most patients have tenderness to pressure, heat or cold that is similar to arthritis but does not cause inflammation or damage to the muscles or joints.
  • Patients experience widespread, chronic neuropathic pain.
  • Patients feel tingling, burning, tenderness, stiffness and presence of tender points which are sensitive to touch, on both sides of the body.
  • Patients also suffer sleep deprivation, physical inactivity, and memory and other neurocognitive problems, which are also called fibro-fog.

Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

  • Diagnosis is based on conducting detailed clinical histories and physical examination.
  • Pain drawings might help patients identify which part of the body is hurting.
  • Many patients have a history of physical or psychological trauma.
  • Patients have a host of psychological, behavioral and other comorbidities that range from psychiatric diagnosis to rheumatoid arthritis to self medication with tobacco smoking.

Treatments for Fibromyalgia

  • There is no specific cure for FM but patients can experience relief from symptoms.
  • FM management includes promoting physical activity, healthy sleep patterns and pain management.
  • There are three FDA approved medications for FM
    1. Pregabalin (Lyrica Pfizer), an anticonvulsant with a specific FM indication, was approved in 2007
    2. Serotonin- norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors duloxetine (Cymbalta, Eli Lilly, approved in 2008
    3. Milnacipran (Savella, Cyprus Bioscience), approved in 2009

Byrum served on the speaker’s bureau for Pfizer in 2009 and 2010.
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