In recent years, the physiatrists of  Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine have observed an increasing number of fibromyalgia cases. This complex condition, characterized by widespread pain and fatigue, poses significant challenges for patients and their doctors as well. Our physiatrists, however, who are open to a holistic approach to treatment, have had exciting success treating fibromyalgia by tailoring combined therapy regimens to meet to each patient’s specific needs and preferences. 

Because we are dedicated to finding treatments that work to bring fibromyalgia patients not only pain relief but a renewed sense of energy and well-being, we are open to both traditional and complementary treatment options. If you have been suffering the drag and droop of fibromyalgia, contact one of our five convenient offices in Nassau or Suffolk County to begin feeling hopeful again.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, current research suggests that the condition involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Its symptoms are believed to result from an abnormal response in the body’s processing of pain, leading to an amplification of pain signals. 

Triggers for fibromyalgia may include physical trauma, surgery, virulent viral infection, or significant psychological stress. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, it is suspected there may be a genetic mutation that makes some individuals more susceptible to developing the disorder. It has also been noted that some illnesses and infections appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia, as do psychological traumas, such as car accidents or the sudden death of a loved one.

Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can affect anyone, but the following factors may increase the risk:

  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
  • Family history: There is a greater likelihood of developing fibromyalgia if a close relative also has the condition.
  • Other disorders: Individuals with diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus appear to be more susceptible to developing fibromyalgia.
  • Stress and lifestyle: High levels of stress, poor physical conditioning, and lack of sleep may contribute to the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia 

The symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain, often described as a constant dull ache on both sides of the body, above and below the waist, that lasts for months and may interrupt sleep.
  • Stiffness throughout the body
  • Extreme fatigue, as evidenced by waking up tired after a full night’s sleep, often associated with sleep disorders, e.g. sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
  • Cognitive difficulties (commonly known as “fibro fog”) distress patients who find themselves unable to pay attention, concentrate, or complete mental tasks.
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Range of other symptoms, such as tingling or numbness in hands and feet, facial pain or TMJ, digestive problems, and interstitial cystitis.

Why Is Fibromyalgia So Difficult to Diagnose?

Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to diagnose due since its symptoms are varied and overlap with a number of other disorders. As if that weren’t perplexing enough, fibromyalgia often coexists with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome, This is why, at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have found that our holistic approach is invaluable when dealing with this condition.

How Fibromyalgia Is Diagnosed

In the past, doctors would check 18 specific points on a person’s body to see how many of them were painful when pressed firmly. Newer guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology don’t require a tender point exam. Instead, the main factor needed for a fibromyalgia diagnosis is widespread pain throughout your body for at least three months.

To meet the criteria, the patient must have pain in at least four of these five areas:

  1. Left upper region, including shoulder, arm, or jaw
  2. Right upper region, including shoulder, arm, or jaw
  3. Left lower region, including hip, buttock, or leg
  4. Right lower region, including hip, buttock, or leg
  5. Axial region, which includes the neck, back, chest, or abdomen

When dealing with suspected fibromyalgia, it may be necessary to rule out other illnesses through blood tests, X-rays, MRI, or CT scans.

Successful Treatments We Provide for Fibromyalgia

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we understand that fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive treatment approach. Here are some of the successful treatments we provide:

  • Customized physical therapy with electrical stimulation
  • Prescribed exercises you can do at home to reinforce office treatment
  • Over-the-counter, and possibly prescribed, pain medications
  • Acupuncture to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • PRP (platelet enriched plasma) therapy to accelerate healing
  • Ultrasound-guided injections of corticosteroids and analgesics (in some cases)
  • PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy to relieve tension and pain and make patients more alert and better able to focus.

Contact Our Experienced Fibromyalgia Doctors Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have a deep understanding of the mind-body connection and of the importance of doctor-patient collaboration. Fibromyalgia is a complex, often confusing, condition, but our physiatrists have the determination and sensitivity to help you heal. Contact us for a new approach to the disorder that has been depleting your energy and interfering with your productivity and pleasure. We will work with you to create a course of treatment that will give you back your life.