If you take the name apart, “fibro” is a medical term for connective tissue, “myo” is a medical term for muscle, and “algia” is a medical term for pain. Literally then the name means pain in the muscle and connective tissue. Fibromyalgia pain is characterized by pain, both above and below the waist and on the left and right side of the body; stiffness; fatigue; sleep disturbance; and, in some cases, depression.
Some experts believe that fibromyalgia is a name given to a pattern of complaints that are really symptoms of an undiagnosed condition. This can be a hormonal or nutritional deficiency or an undiagnosed infection often of the sinuses, urinary tract or intestines. Other experts view fibromyalgia as a distinct clinical entity diagnosed by the presence of the symptoms described above and the presence of pain at 11 out of 18 distinct points identified by the American College of Rheumatology in the presence of otherwise normal lab, x-ray, and electrodiagnostic studies. In clinical practice both scenarios are seen. For this reason physicians who treat individuals with fibromyalgia pain must both perform a thorough diagnostic evaluation to rule out underlying conditions and provide treatment options to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia when a correctable cause can not be found.
In the absence of a correctable condition, there is no cure for primary fibromyalgia. There are, however, strategies which can lessen the pain and disability associated with the condition. There is no cure for diabetes, but individuals with diabetes can lessen the impact of the disease by taking their medications as prescribed, following their diet, and exercising according to their doctor’s instructions. In the same way there are things that an individual with fibromyalgia can do to control the symptoms and lessen the pain and fatigue. Interventions used to decrease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia include sleep management, activity pacing, graded cardiovascular exercise, nutritional counseling and medical and nutritional infusions. For these reasons, it is important to seek out a pain management physician with extensive experience treating fibromyalgia pain symptoms.