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Fibromyalgia Specialist

Hawaii Pain & Spine

Jonathan D. Carlson, MD

Pain Management Physician and Interventional Pain Specialist located on Windward, Oahu

Learning how to manage your fibromyalgia by living a healthy lifestyle and understanding the psychology of pain is invaluable in improving quality of life for patients with this chronic condition. If you need help managing fibromyalgia, Jonathan D. Carlson, MD, of Hawai'i Pain & Spine in the Windward area of Kailua, Hawai'i, can help. Dr. Carlson is a leading expert in chronic pain and conditions like fibromyalgia. Call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Fibromyalgia Q & A

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread, chronic pain in muscles and soft tissues, as well as other symptoms that make living with the disorder a considerable challenge.

There are at least 12 million people in the United States with fibromyalgia, so it’s not an uncommon problem. It is one, however, people often find hard to understand, especially since the causes are not fully understood.

If you have fibromyalgia, you’ll know what the relentless aching and tenderness over your whole body feels like, but it’s hard to describe to another person. The reason you feel this discomfort is due to overly sensitive nerves sending heightened pain signals to your brain. Exactly why this happens isn’t completely clear.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain throughout your body. Most causes of chronic pain affect certain areas of your body. For example, arthritis affects joints but not muscles. Fibromyalgia pain, on the other hand, typically affects the entire body.

There are other symptoms that people with fibromyalgia frequently experience, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Problems sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Restless leg syndrome

You may have some or all of these symptoms in addition to the pain. You’re also likely to have problems with memory and concentration, cognitive difficulties that are so common in people with fibromyalgia that they’re known as “fibro fog.”

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

In addition to the symptoms typical of the condition, if you have fibromyalgia, there are specific points on your body that are especially tender. These tender points are used to help with diagnosis. You need at least 11 of the 18 tender spots to receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Even if you have all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, it’s still important for Dr. Carlson to rule out any other possible causes before making a positive diagnosis.

How is fibromyalgia treated?

There’s no cure for fibromyalgia, but pain-management techniques, lifestyle changes, and therapies to reduce your pain can all contribute to making your life far more comfortable. 

Treatments that Dr. Carlson might include in your personalized pain-management plan include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Tricyclic antidepressants for pain
  • SSRI antidepressants
  • Trigger-point injections containing anesthetic and corticosteroids

Prescription pain relief is often used for fibromyalgia patients and can have a place within your treatment plan. However, it should never be the sole treatment as it doesn’t do anything to improve your condition as other therapies can.

If you have widespread chronic pain, call Hawai’i Pain & Spine today or book an appointment online.