Causes Of Back Pain

Fibromyalgia: A Cause Of Back Pain

Fibromyalgia is characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and tenderness in the local areas of the spine, neck, shoulders and hips known as ''tender points''. These points hurt when the pressure is applied on them. Mostly middle aged women are affected by fibromyalgia. It is basically a myofascial pain syndrome resulting in generalized back pain and muscle pain. A person suffering from fibromyalgia often visualizes the following symptoms:

Difficulty in sleeping
Feeling tired after waking from sleep, instead of feeling refreshed.
Stiff joints in the morning that feel better as the day progresses.
Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
Depression
Headache
Fibromyalgia is the third most common diagnosis made in rheumatology clinics, after rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, this disease is especially enigmatic and difficult to identify. Surely, it is not degenerative or life threatening but it can be life altering. Treatment for fibromyalgia involves a coordinated management program to alleviate the symptoms. Some of the goals included in this program are:

1.Correct and accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia
2.Sleep enhancement for fibromyalgia
3.Patient education about fibromyalgia
4.Aerobic fitness for fibromyalgia

Other treatment for fibromyalgia may include one or a combination of the following options:
Massage or injections of lidocaine (helpful in relieving pain in tender spots)
Non-narcotic pain medications like acetaminophen
Low impact aerobic conditioning
Anti-depressants like amitriptyline (helpful in sleeping and in alleviating the pain)
While making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor would take in to consideration the patient's case history and the exclusion of other conditions like endocrine disorder, arthritis, and polymyalgia rheumatica. For diagnosis, two criteria are established by American College of Rheumatology. These are:

1.A history of widespread pain which lasts more than three months i.e. pain in both sides and above and below the waist.
2.Tender points- There are 18 designated tender points. During diagnosis, some force is exerted at each of the 18 points. The patient must feel pain at 11 or more of these points for fibromyalgia to be considered.

So proper and accurate diagnosis will help in knowing the real cause behind the problem and in turn help in selecting a better treatment.