Dear Ask The Doctor: My mother has been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia. She also has hypothyroidism. The problem is that her arms are constantly in pain, like a constant feeling of pain like the sore feeling you get after a hard workout. She has trouble just putting a coat on. She had an EMG done and the results were negative. The medication she was put on for fibromyalgia did nothing so she does not take it anymore. The doctors just keep telling her that its fibromyalgia but the EMG came back saying that it wasn't her nerves so how can it be fibromyalgia? Could her pain be caused by her degenerative disc disease? We just don't know what to do anymore and the pain is getting worse. Any thoughts you could give me would be much appreciated, Thanks
Dear Patient: Fibromyalgia is a codition that causes chronic pain in muscles and ligaments. It may be a widespread or global pain. It may start in one site, but with time becomes generalized. It can affect individuals of any age, and more women than men, but just the 2% of the general population in US meet the criteria to be diagnosed of Fibromyalgia. Although this disorder affects about 4 million Americans, the vast majority of them are women in their mid-30s to late-50s.In addition to muscular pain and stiffness can also cause fatigue, sleep problems, depression and an inability to think clearly. It may be associate with other problems, like maybe in your mother’s case, with Degenerative Disc Disease(DDD), also the EMG is not amongst the diagnostic tests for Fibromyalgia. While there is no known cause for fibromyalgia, recent research has revealed some new facts about the disease. One of the new discoveries is that people with fibromyalgia process pain differently. The level of chemical in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) called substance P, which transmits pain impulses to the brain, is three times higher in people with the disease than in those who do not have the condition. This likely causes someone with fibromyalgia to experience pain more intensely. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, home treatment can relieve some of the symptoms. The most important therapy for muscle pain is regular, low-impact exercise. Keeping muscles conditioned and healthy by exercising three times a week decreases the amount of discomfort. It is important to try low-stress exercises such as walking, swimming, water aerobics, and biking rather than muscle-straining exercises such as weight training. Besides helping with tenderness, regular exercises can also boost energy levels and help with sleep. No single treatment will take away all the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. But most people do get some relief by trying a combination of therapies.’Lyrica’, ‘Cymbalta’ and Savella, These are the only three drugs approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Lyrica is an antiseizure medication, while Cymbalta and Savella are antidepressants. All three have been shown to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia. Flexeril: This muscle relaxant not only decreases muscle pain but also improves sleep. Mirapex: This drug is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. When used to treat fibromyalgia, it reduced pain in 80% of patients. Low doses of antidepressant medication: These medicines improve sleep and decrease pain as well as eliminate depression. Biofeedback and relaxation techniques: Besides lessening pain, these therapies also decrease the number of tender points. Acupuncture: Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can decrease tender point pain. Tender point injections: Steroid or lidocaine injections into a painful area may provide temporary relief. Massage therapy: This can help relax and soothe painful muscles.