One more question..... How is it usually treated once it is diagnosed? My doctor is sending me to a pain management doctor. At this point I am willing to try anything however I am scared of becoming addicted to pain pills. My aunt is addicted to Percocet because of this. She is also on disability. Will I eventually no longer be able to work? Are opiates the only route of treatment?
I am newly dianosed w/fibro so I sure don't know it all but I'll try to help. Fibro is usually diagnosed after ruling out other diseases such as lupus, thyroid issues, RA etc for which there are specific tests. There are 18 'tender points' on your body that when gently pressed will feel pain greatly out of proportion to the amount of pressure used. However, the test is not painful per se, you will just feel like someone is pressing on a bruised area vs just the pressure of a touch.
Generally people w/fibro have problems with pain and with getting enough sleep, as well as achieving a deep enough sleep to be rested. Your doctor will probably put you on an antidepressant, a medicine to help you sleep and a pain medicine. Cymbalta is often the antidepressant used because it can also help with the pain. I hadaa really bad expreience w/Cymbalta side effects years ago when I tried it for just depression so I can't take it but you may be fine.
I am very sensitive to drugs so for now I am on gabapentin for pain. It is a nerve blocker used in treating neuropathies and is not addictive. It makes me sleepy but I'm sleepy anyway from the fibro and at least for me, will knock the pain down about 4-5 points on the scale (a 9 to a 5 say).
Right now I'm choosing to workw/the gabapentin and not add anything else since I'm so sensitive and also because I'm a personal trainer that is at least for now, stubbornly still working and working out as much as possible. I hurt, but most days its not life ending hurt. You may want to ask your Dr about Lyrica and Savella, two other drugs commonly prescribed that are not opiates or antidepressants.
Another great help for me has been mindfulness meditiation. My Dr recommended it to me and I have been doing it for a little over a week and feel better already. I don't hurt that much less but I feel as if I have regained control over my life and often it will also help with the pain.
Hope this helps!
You may want to consider making changes in your diet? I've read and learned first hand that processed sugars and flours are horrible for Fibro patients. There are some great websites out there that have lots of suggestions as to what foods to avoid and what foods to consume.
For me personally, the processed sugars and flours seemed to be a trigger for my pain and fatigue. I've recently discovered that artificial sugars and MSG wreak havoc on my body, as well. It takes some trial and error, but I can't tell you how much better you will feel, once you start working on your diet. I would also recommend you begin a daily vitamin regimine. It makes so much of a difference.
I'm not at all suggesting that these ideas will cure your Fibro pain, but it will help to make it more tolerable, along with whatever meds you try.