Table of Contents
Most people who have fibromyalgia go through a long process just to begin to get treatment. Fibromyalgia most often presents itself in young or middle aged women, although anyone of any age can develop the disease. Doctors are never especially eager to diagnose fibromyalgia.
The fibromyalgia diagnosis guidelines require that the pain has to be widespread and continuous for at least three months. Usually that's three months as reported to the doctor, not three months as noticed by the patient. In the West, fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means a long list of other diseases has to be ruled out before fibromyalgia is ruled in.
Getting Your Doctor To Believe In Your Pain
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed in terms of pain at any of 18 paired pressure points or three single pressure points. The problem for many patients is that they feel pain no matter where the doctor presses against with a device known as a pressure algometer or dolorimeter (pain meter). Some doctors press on the skin where there isn't a diagnostic point with the expectation that someone who is "faking it" will complain in pain.
'I'll Just Take One Of Each' At The Pharmacy
Pain specialists try offer chronic pain relief with muscle relaxants, antidepressants, antianxiety agents, alpha-2 agonists (which activate an inhibitory nerve that slows down heart rate and reduces sensitivity of muscles to pain triggers), and a variety of pain relievers. The problem with medication for fibromyalgia is that starting any new medication may lower the pain threshold, and stopping any old medication can also lower the pain threshold, and changing dosage can make pressure points more sensitive, too. It can take a long time just to establish credibility with your doctor, and even longer, sometimes many years, to hit on a combination of medication and lifestyle changes that actually work. Exercise, however, sometimes provides pain relief relatively quickly.