If you have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome, you are probably wondering exactly what to expect in your future. What symptoms will you develop? Will the pain get worse? Will you ever completely recover? Unfortunately, there are a lot of questions when it comes to fibromyalgia, and not always the best answers.
The Course of Fibromyalgia
The course fibromyalgia takes depends upon the individual.
Typically, fibromyalgia begins with some minor aches and pains. Gradually, pain will become more pronounced and noticeable. You’ll begin to lose some muscle strength and movement, which may affect your mobility. For instance, you may find that you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning or completing your responsibilities at work. You will also begin to notice other fibromyalgia symptoms popping up.
Fibromyalgia symptoms tend to turn up in cycles. You may notice that your symptoms are fine one day and really bad the next. This is known as a fibromyalgia flare. Certain things can trigger flares, like alcohol, overexertion, and insomnia. Over time, you will learn to recognize those things that trigger your flares.
Progress of Symptoms
Luckily, research shows that fibromyalgia symptoms tend to level out over time. This means that your symptoms shouldn’t get any worse. However, fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, which means recovery is difficult. You may always have to live with some symptoms. If your health continues to decline or declines quickly, seek appropriate treatment. Sometimes, fibromyalgia can cause associated conditions that may affect your health.
Many fibromyalgia patients wonder if they will have to stay in hospital during their illness. Of course, this is difficult to say, as each patient is different. However, it is highly unlikely you will need to stay in hospital for treatment. Some patients respond poorly to treatment and do require referral to a chronic pain clinic. Most sufferers who receive treatment though, will be able to enjoy their daily lives.
If you have fibromyalgia, it will take some time to find the treatment that works best. While there is no single treatment at present, there is no cure, there are good treatments available with the goal of obtaining to the best possible level of quality of life.
Each person’s treatment program needs to be individualized because what works for one may not work for the other. The best approach in this case is the team approach, utilizing the expertise of medical doctors, physiotherapists, rheumatologists and other health professionals – especially the person with FM – all working together.
Since fibromyalgia and other chronic illness that have associated muscular pain are acknowledged more than in former years, clinics that specialize in pain and other clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including fibromyalgia, have been established all over the country.
It is possible to gather a team of professionals in such a clinic who can work together with the individual to tailor a program that works.
Medications are available to relieve pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms. The first FDA approved fibromyalgia medicine was Pregabalin (Lyrica). Over the years a greater variety of medications have been developed and approved for this condition.
Alternative treatments are also available. Such therapies as massage, Pilates and Feldenkrais, chiropractic, acupuncture and dietary supplements are all possibilities.
Keep in mind that fibromyalgia treatments don’t eliminate pain completely. The aim of treatment is to reduce your suffering and increase your enjoyment of life.