Fibromyalgia Treatment Guidelines
This outline of fibromyalgia treatment guidelines is an important guide to discover whether or not you indeed have the fibromyalgia condition. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain and autoimmune disorder that can be recognized by constant body fatigue, difficulty getting a good nights sleep, widespread pain in a variety of places on the body, general stiffness and localized joint swelling. According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia mainly affects young women and middle-aged women and is reported in 2 to 4 percent of the population. The federal government has developed fibromyalgia treatment guidelines that are available through the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
Before prescribing any form of treatment for fibromyalgia by following the fibromyalgia treatment guidelines, a physician needs to get a complete medical history from the patient which should include the nature, severity and location of the ongoing pain, how severely the patient’s sleep is disrupted, what other trauma the patient has undergone and how daily living and functioning is affected by the symptoms. As mentioned earlier, a past medical history should be completed and information should be gathered about any previous fibromyalgia treatments. A family history of diseases such as arthritis, hypothyroidism, psychological disorders and migraines should be collected. In addition, the government requires a psychosocial history of the patient that includes an evaluation of the patient’s coping skills, financial support, previous stress or trauma, lifestyle choices, and level of emotional stability.
In addition to checking all vital signs and observing the patient’s general outward appearance, the fibromyalgia treatment guidelines require that doctors perform a complete examination of every joint (fibromyalgia pressure points) to ensure that the patient actually suffers from the condition; palpate tender spots; and assess the patient’s mental status through a psychological evaluation, looking for symptoms of depression, anxiety and migraine headaches. Doctors also should get complete gynaecological and neurological exams to eliminate other potentially conflicting conditions. A fibromyalgia impact questionnaire should be administered as well as extensive lab tests and a sleep analysis.
To receive an official diagnosis of fibromyalgia, all patients must meet certain criteria within the fibromyalgia treatment guidelines that include a history of widespread pain that has been ongoing for at least three months. Widespread pain is characterized by pain on both sides of the body and above and below the waistline as well as skeletal pain in the spine or lower back. Patients must present with tenderness in 11 of the 18 points identified by the American College of Rheumatology for fibromyalgia patients. These pain points are referred to as the fibromyalgia pressure points.
For more information on fibromyalgia and its diagnosis, please view this video featuring Dr. Vickery:
Once we’ve solidified that a person has fibromyalgia, the fibromyalgia treatment guidelines are the next step in the process. The first line of treatment for fibromyalgia sufferers is sleep medication with drugs such as amitriptyline. Fatigue and depression can be treated pharmacologically with seratonin re-uptake inhibitors. Muscle spasms and pain also can be treated with approved FDA fibromyalgia medications. Fibromyalgia exercise and massage are recommended for fibromyalgia patients, including cardiovascular workouts, muscle building and fibromyalgia stretching exercises that include yoga for fibromyalgia pain relief. Massage and biofeedback also have proved successful in treating the disorder. Referrals to pain management specialists and psychologists may be required for patients who do not respond to regular treatment modalities. There is also growing support for natural fibromyalgia treatment.
These fibromyalgia treatment guidelines are the first steps in coming to some sort of resolution as one moves forward in diagnosis and next steps. If you think you may be suffering from the chronic pain of fibromyalgia and your life feels like it may be out of control, the first steps are outlined above.
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