A couple of months ago, pop superstar Lady Gaga announced that she suffers from fibromyalgia. Since then, she’s even postponed a portion of her European tour so she could deal with “fibromyalgia-related ‘trauma and chronic pain.’” It’s estimated that between 5 and 10 million Americans suffer from this disorder, and Lady Gaga’s announcement has really put a spotlight on it.
It’s important to be knowledgeable about the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and with it being the news lately, it’s a good time to review them as well as treatment options.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Put simply: It is a chronic pain syndrome where sufferers, mostly women, experience widespread muscle and deep tissue pain. There are many related symptoms as well, including headaches, poor sleep quality, fatigue, numbness, bowel issues, and “fibro fog,” where the patient experiences cognitive and memory issues.
Unfortunately, the cause of fibromyalgia is not known at this time. Researchers believe it is hereditary, and can be caused by traumatic events such as major illness, car accident, or other repetitive action injuries.
Because of the wide variety of primary and secondary symptoms, fibromyalgia can sometimes go undiagnosed. There is no one specific test for it, and therefore doctors may rule out other diseases with similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and others.
How Do You Treat Fibromyalgia?
As with many diseases, symptoms can vary from patient to patient, and we therefore always personalize our treatment based on a patient’s health condition, history, and other factors. That said, there are a handful of treatments we perform to help patients manage the pain.
One common treatment we use is the Infrared Sauna, which uses light to create heat. Infrared saunas are often used for toxin elimination, joint, muscle, and tissue pain relief. Infrared saunas are effective in reducing stress, increasing metabolism and improving your immune system. It’s a great way to treat nerve pain, and thus is an excellent method for treating fibromyalgia.
Other treatments include (but aren’t limited to):
- Physical therapy to help improve strength, flexibility and stamina.
- Water-based therapy
- Relaxation & breathing exercises
- Non-narcotic pain relief medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium)
Additionally, we recommend that patients try to exercise regularly, reduce their stress levels, and get more sleep.
Keep in mind that pain can come and go, sometimes making treatment a challenge. For this reason, many of the above treatments are intended to increase a patient’s overall comfort and relaxation level, which can often help them manage their pain.