Fibromyalgia is a pain-related disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain that can impact daily activities. This central nervous system condition affects more than 10 million Americans, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more frequently than men; an estimated 6 to 10 percent of women have the condition. Less than 1 percent of men in America also suffer from fibromyalgia. Though mostly diagnosed in adults, fibromyalgia also affects children and teens. Between 1 and 7 percent of children are believed to have the condition.

Fibromyalgia pain can ebb and flow, which means some days are worse than others. Fibromyalgia pain relief can be difficult to find, but there are many treatment options that can help you minimize your discomfort.

fibromyalgia illustration

Fibromyalgia Causes

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, there are a number of risk factors that could lead to the condition, including:

  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Physical/emotional trauma
  • Spinal cord compression

Researchers believe that the pain those with fibromyalgia feel is caused by a change in the neurotransmitters. The brain’s pain receptors tend to recall the pain, which can cause them to become more sensitive and overreact to pain signals.

Fibromyalgia and Spinal Cord Compression

Fibromyalgia may also be a sign of a spinal disorder. Spinal stenosis can result in nerve compression, which can lead to widespread bodily pain and tenderness.

According to the University of Kansas School of Medicine and Arthritis Research Center, fibromyalgia was 13 times more likely after a neck injury or condition that led to spinal compression. Another study published in the American College of Rheumatology also revealed that about 50 percent of fibromyalgia patients in the study had positional cervical cord compression.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

The most prominent sign of fibromyalgia is chronic pain. In the 20th century, fibromyalgia was identified by pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a duration of 3 months. Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • “Fibro fog”/cognitive difficulties
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression

Women may also suffer more painful menstrual cramps. Fibromyalgia pain is widespread and often felt in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. It can be a dull, sharp, throbbing or aching pain.

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia treatment options specifically focus on the use of pain relievers, antidepressants and other medications.

Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to dull the pain some of the time; however, narcotics are not advised as a fibromyalgia treatment option.

Other medications, such as antidepressants, may also be used to treat the anxiety or depression that accompanies fibromyalgia.

When the extensive pain a person is feeling is caused by spinal cord compression, cervical spine surgery could provide some fibromyalgia pain relief. According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, 42 out of 45 people with fibromyalgia also exhibited signs of spinal cord compression.

We advocate patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain to contact us for an MRI review or to discuss symptoms with a spine surgeon to discover if the Bonati Spine Procedures could be a fibromyalgia treatment option.