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Common Pain Condition Often Dismissed as Psychological Problem

Common Pain Condition Often Dismissed as Psychological Problem
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By    |   Tuesday, 19 July 2016 01:37 PM

One of the most common chronic pain conditions, fibromyalgia, is sometimes dismissed as something that could be “all in your head” or even a lazy catch-all diagnosis by untrained physicians.

But if you’re one of an estimated 10 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia — including many women — it’s all too real.

“Medicine has a long history of dealing with complex illnesses that predominantly affect women by saying 'I don't know what's wrong with you so you're crazy,’ ” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a board-certified internist and author of the Amazon bestselling book “The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, Made Easy!”

“For example, multiple sclerosis used to be called hysterical paralysis, and lupus and rheumatoid arthritis were considered neuroses. More recently, this has been going on with fibromyalgia."

But hundreds of studies have shown that fibromyalgia is real and can be devastating to sufferers, he adds.

“It is no more appropriate for a doctor to say 'I don't know what's wrong with you so you're crazy', then it was when multiple sclerosis was rudely called hysterical paralysis,” Teitelbaum says. “If a doctor is so hopelessly out of date that they still do this to you, walk up to them, give him a big hug, and tell them 'Thank you for letting me know quickly what an utter and completely out of date idiot you are so I don't waste my time with you.' And walk out the door."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and frequently psychological distress. In fact, adults with fibromyalgia are more than three times as likely to have major depression as the average American.

Fibromyalgia typically starts in middle adulthood and is most common in women, but it can also occur in men as well as in teens and seniors.

People with fibromyalgia have are typically hospitalized once every three years, and have 5.5 million ambulatory care visits on average per year. The total annual costs to the nation — in both direct and indirect healthcare expenditures — is $5,945 per person.

Unfortunately, physicians do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but it has been associated with repetitive stress injuries, a stressful or traumatic event like a car accident, post-traumatic stress disorder, certain viruses and diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It may also be linked to obesity, or even genetics, some research suggests.

Typical symptoms include:

•    Morning stiffness.
•    Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.
•    Headaches, including migraines.
•    Irritable bowel syndrome.
•    Sleep disturbances.
•    Cognitive problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”).
•    Painful menstrual periods and other pain syndromes.

Teitelbaum calls fibromyalgia “a devastating condition that robs you of your life… a toothache that spreads through your whole body and lasts for 20 years.” He says that when it comes to pain management, most doctors are lacking in their bed-side manners.

The good news it can be treated, he explains. With 30 years of experience, treating hundreds of patients a year, Teitelbaum has developed a five-step approach to treat the condition known as the “SHINE” protocol.

Sleep: Aggravated by pain and body stiffness, insomnia is common in people with fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, sleep is a critical component for a condition that depletes energy and you should look to get between eight and nine hours of sleep per night.

Hormones: Most fibromyalgia sufferers also have hormone deficiencies. So checking hormone levels and possibly getting on thyroid medication can improve symptoms for some.

Infections: Underlying viral, bacterial, bowel, sinus, and yeast infections are common and can be a chronic feature. Get treatment as soon as symptoms of infections occur.

Nutrition: Make sure to get optimal nutrition because the entire nervous system is depleted and under duress in people with fibromyalgia. Teitelbaum recommends using vitamin powder to ensure the body gets the right amount of vitamins and minerals, as to avoid swallowing handfuls of pills.

Exercise: Even walking for just 30 minutes a day can help ease symptoms and strengthen the body and mind.

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Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, but it is sometimes dismissed by untrained physicians as psychosomatic problem. The good news is that treatment is available and can help ease symptoms of the condition, which strikes an estimated 10 million Americans.
pain, medication, medical, problem, fibryomyalgia
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 01:37 PM
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