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Fibromyalgia Awareness

May 11, 2012 - 4 comments

This Saturday, May 12, is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, so it’s a perfect time to talk about fibromyalgia as it relates to opiate use. Over the past few years we’ve seen an increased number of fibromyalgia patients that have started receiving prescriptions for painkillers to address their chronic pain symptoms. As a Registered Addiction Specialist, this is extremely concerning to me especially at a time when we are also seeing prescription painkiller use exploding nationwide.  

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that is marked by widespread aching and pain in the muscles and joints. Fibromyalgia affects more than 12 million Americans, and women are 10 times more likely to suffer symptoms than men. Some symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:

• Widespread pain
• Extreme fatigue
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Headaches
• Tender points
• Sleeplessness  

While the causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, many researchers believe the condition can occur from hormone imbalances that affect the central nervous system, as well as stress, illness or certain types of trauma.

Fibromyalgia can be very challenging to treat, and although there is limited evidence showing that opioids are an effective form of treatment, it seems these prescription painkillers are prescribed frequently for fibromyalgia patients. According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of the patients who participated had been prescribed opioids for their condition; and two-thirds of them had received “strong opioids.”

Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating condition that affects the quality of a patient’s everyday life, but there are several alternative therapies that can be helpful in achieving relief from fibromyalgia.  Unconventional treatments like acupuncture, electro acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and even meditation have been shown to help alleviate pain for some patients.  While alternative therapies may be helpful, it is always recommended that patients consult their doctor before starting any treatment program.  

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA). On May 12 and throughout the month of May, the NFMCPA will work to raise awareness for the condition by offering activities and other opportunities for local communities to participate. For a list of local resources and local events, please visit the NFMCPA at

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Avatar universal
by beverly1234, May 16, 2012
I found out that I have Fibromyalgia back in 2009, I have tried several different medication and nothing seemed to work. My PCP finally but me on Sevela and I does ease up the pain a little. But it is still very hard to do allot of things. The symptoms your state are everything have and still do, But like I said the Sevela is easing up the pain. I'm not and expert but I really believe that all of my other health problems are the results of the Fibromyalgia. I just wish they new more about this.

Thank you

Avatar universal
by andrealynnae, May 16, 2012
I havent found anything that helps with my severe nerve pain from a bulged disk and never root compression. I also have fibro. new to this... any med advise?

Avatar universal
by FaithforHealing, May 22, 2012
I suffered with the symptoms you list for about two years and was eventually dx with fibromyalgia AND hepatitis C virus at the same time by a rheumotologist at age 53 in 2003. Over the years every dr has told me that the symptoms were all due to the fibro as "HCV" has no symptoms. It is interesting to me as to how they could make that call given fibro is dx'd by absence of anything else and they don't have a clue what it is,  but I wasn't absent of anything else, I had HCV!
I just started tx for HCV and was warned of the side effects of tx, many of which are the same as fibro. Well, lo and behold, after my virus dropped from 8 million to 40, guess who actually felt better than prior to starting the tx which should have made me feel worse?

I believe anyone who has a fibro dx or suffers with the symptoms should be tested for HCV. There is actual research that now shows a high number of people with fibro have hcv. Since my fibro symptoms seem to be better with the viral drop I have no doubt hcv has been the source of my misery, but no doctor ever recommended that I get hcv tx to maybe get rid of the symptoms. My quality of life has suffered for years.

New word out is that all baby boomers should be tested for HCV anyhow, so if you are suffering with fibro, I think it's worth your time to have the simple blood test which can tell if you really have something like hcv!

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by billyz123, Jun 05, 2012
I was diagnosed with FM over a year ago. After seeing a number of chiropractors (because it certainly felt like it was helping) I ended up seeing a doctor who used the Atlas Orthogonal. After looking at my first x-ray he mentioned Chiari Malformation. We brushed it off and proceeded to adjust my atlas (C1) a couple of times. My atlas kept going out of place so I asked my PCP to let me get an MRI. The MRI clearly showed I have Chiari Malformation, a retroflexed-odontoid, and basilar impression. If you have been diagnosed with FM (a diagnosis with no known cause or cure), and have sinus problems, neck or back pain, constant headaches... then I highly recommend you get an MRI to check for Chiari Malformation because this can actually be treated quite successfully. <3

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