r. Gott: Fibromyalgia symptoms are real pain
Ask the Doctor
Q) After severe back pain and many different meds and treatments, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I took Cymbalta, which helped but it made me lethargic and depressed. I'm now taking Celebrex, which helped for a while, but now the pain in my lower back and hips is so bad that I cannot lie on my side. I am ready to give up. Do you have any advice?
A) The pain of fibromyalgia is widespread and can be felt throughout the body. Symptoms vary from person to person and can include joint stiffness, sleep disorders, fatigue, widespread pain and a great deal more. Herein lies the problem, because every symptom can be tied in to other disorders, making it difficult to diagnose.
There is no X-ray testing or laboratory work to confirm or rule out fibromyalgia. Rather, the history a patient presents to his or her physician, coupled with a hands-on examination, will likely tell the story.
Treatment commonly begins with over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen sodium, advancing to prescription medications such as gabapentin, tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs and narcotics. Physical therapy and an exercise program might be an appropriate addition to more conservative methods. Water aerobics, deep breathing exercises, massage, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, yoga and even counseling might teach a patient methods of successfully dealing with the constant pain. There are options. Therefore, it is important that you enlist the services of a physician well versed in the treatment of fibromyalgia.