NJ Sports Injury

Fibromyalgia: It’s Hard to Explain!

stk62884corFibromyalgia (FM) is a condition that typically has a slow, gradual onset that starts out mild and gradually worsens. The symptoms associated with FM include generalized pain all over the body (above and below the waist including neck, shoulders, chest, upper back, arms, hips, buttocks, legs, and feet). The pain can be symmetrical or more intense on the left or right side AND it can vary from day to day. To top it all off, the pain is “chronic” and is usually present for three or more months, sometimes for years, before the FM patient might even mention it to their health care provider. The onset can be so gradual that other issues often become the center of focus until the intensity gets to the point where the patient FINALLY complains.

To better appreciate the complexity of FM, there are two types of FM: Primary and Secondary. Primary FM has no specific cause while secondary FM is linked to something such as trauma associated with a car accident or sports injury, a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and others. Either way, it is often NOT the kind of thing many patients “bring up” during the discussion of history with their health care provider, especially if something else is bothering them that may be more pressing.

So, how does one explain the symptoms of FM? Words such as a deep ache, burning, tingling, shooting, tender, pins and needles, stiffness, and flu-like symptoms are often utilized when describing FM symptoms. Almost always, these complaints have been present for a long time – or for at least three months. Often, the patient is reluctant and almost embarrassed to mention it due to the difficulty in describing the symptoms and the fact that they often don’t know the cause. Equally, many doctors, “have an attitude” that is negative and/or non-supportive of the diagnosis of FM making it even more likely FM patients won’t pursue the condition with other health care providers. This polarization by physicians is a very common issue and often the reason FM sufferers continue to “put up” with their condition rather than consult with others.

The KEY to the diagnosis of FM includes the following: 1) Widespread pain NOT limited to one area of the body; 2) Greater than three months of symptom duration; 3) Symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression/anxiety, as well as memory and/or concentration complaints; 4) Symptoms severe enough that they interfere with daily living activities/daily life; and 5) Difficulty finding an answer to the cause of the symptoms, USUALLY involving more than one health care provider. Even though awareness by both the general population and health care providers has improved in the last few years, research has shown that 92% of FM patients have talked to their doctor about their complaints, but this resulted in only 24% being diagnosed.

Another challenge confronting healthcare providers in making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is because it can’t be seen on an x-ray or as an alteration on a blood test. Other diseases have to be “ruled out” before the diagnosis is even considered, but as was previously stated, secondary FM results from other conditions making it ALL the more challenging! It boils down to a very careful history and a physical exam has to be performed by the health care provider and the provider MUST believe in the diagnosis of FM. Tools such as the Fibromyalgia Pain Assessment can also be very helpful AND it’s available online for the FM patient to access. Bring those results with you to the provider for added help in making the diagnosis!

If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

Weekly Health Update—Chiropractic: Decrease Pain Sensitivity.

Mental Attitude: Prevent Burnout.
Burnout is described as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and job dissatisfaction. Teachers appear to be especially susceptible to burnout and this has resulted in poor classroom performance, more days missed from work, and high turnover rates in the profession. In this study, teachers were taught transcendental meditation and were followed for four months. Each participant meditated at least once per day, with half meditating at least twice per day. The researchers reported significant improvements in perceived stress, burnout, and depressive symptoms.
The Permanente Journal, February 2014

Health Alert: Are Chemicals Used in Food Packaging Harmful?
A new report warns that chemicals used in the production, storage, and processing of packaged foods may be harmful to your health over the long-term. The authors of the report note that food manufacturers regularly use small and regulated amounts of chemicals in food packaging known to cause cancer and or disrupt hormones. The trouble, they say, is that there are no existing studies that identify the long-term impact of such exposure or to see if such exposure may be linked to the rise in chronic conditions such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
Epidemiology and Community Health, February 2014

Diet: Daily Multivitamin May Reduce Cataract Risk in Men.
After reviewing roughly 15 years of data concerning 12,641 male doctors, researchers found that men who took a daily multivitamin were 9% less likely to be diagnosed with a cataract. While 9% may seem small, applied to a large population, this finding could have a substantial impact on public health.
Opthalmology, November 2013

Exercise: What Does Your Coach Know?
Researchers quizzed 70 youth coaches on topics ranging from exercise physiology, practice design, hydration, nutrition, basic first aid and acute injury management, concussion care, and strength training. While the majority tested well on first aid and CPR knowledge, most coaches scored poorly on questions related to hydration and concussion care. With over 40 million children in the United States participating in organized sports, the demand for coaches and volunteers is greater than ever. The researchers hope this information will help coaches become more knowledgeable on ways to keep youth athletes both safe and healthy.
American Council on Exercise, February 2014

Chiropractic: Decrease Pain Sensitivity.
Past research has found that spinal manipulation results in a decreased sensitivity to pain, but researchers wanted to find out if this was the result of the adjustment itself or because of the expectation of treatment. To find an answer, researchers divided participants into four groups: no intervention, spinal manipulation, sham manipulation, and sham manipulation with an instruction that the treatment they will receive has been shown to significantly reduce low back pain in some people. Pain sensitivity was assessed both pre- and post-treatment by applying heat to the body until participants reported it reached their pain threshold. The spinal manipulation group showed the greatest decrease in pain sensitivity.
Journal of Pain, February 2014

Wellness/Prevention: Postnatal Visits are Important!
While medical associations recommend women visit their doctor in the weeks after giving birth, only about half do and the rates aren’t much higher among women who had complicated pregnancies because of high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health problems. These visits are important for all new mothers as they give the doctor an opportunity to recommend preventative care or to address risk factors for chronic diseases when a new mother may be most motivated to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, February 2014