by Nesreen Suwan, M.D.
You hurt all over, and you frequently feel exhausted and tired. Even after numerous tests, your doctor can't find anything specifically wrong with you. If this sounds familiar, you may have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that has been underestimated and underdiagnosed by both patients and physicians. It is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points, which occur in precise localized areas, particularly in the neck, upper back, lower back, shoulders, and hips. Sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, headaches, difficulty concentrating, tingling sensation in the arms, legs, or whole body, and severe excessive fatigue may be associated with fibromyalgia.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia affects about six million Americans. It primarily occurs in women of childbearing age, though anybody could be affected. Fibromyalgia sufferers may experience endless challenges, from chronic disabling pain, which may be assessed with normal diagnostic testing, to the presence of mild abnormalities in some diagnostic testing that may not explain the full-blown fibromyalgia syndrome.
Fibromyalgia presents with many unrelated symptoms. This makes it difficult for such a complicated condition to fall in a specific medical specialty, and because of the complicated nature of the condition, it may not fit into a busy general medicine practice. Thus, a clinic specializing in fibromyalgia may offer more options for evaluation and management.
Because of the chronic all-body pain that may be aggravated with movements and adjustments, physical therapy and chiropractic management may not be possible with uncontrolled fibromyalgia pain, and pain may become worse. Not being able to do basic chores at home may impact the family life of fibromyalgia sufferers. Being nonproductive or less efficient at work, or not being able to work at all, may have a very negative impact on the economy. Weight gain could be a significant associated medical condition that may worsen with inability to exercise because of pain. Weight gain may in turn make chronic pain and headache conditions worse, adding to its devastating effect on general health, blood pressure, and diabetes. Fibromyalgia complications may establish a circle that will never stop. Fortunately there is a growing recognition of this condition, and recent advancements in medical science may brighten the outlook of the nearly six million sufferers. Currently, there are many FDA-approved medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia, beside other non-pharmaceutical modalities offered in our specialty clinic.
Dr. Suwan is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in the treatment of headaches, pain, and fibromyalgia. She is board-certified in neurology, pain medicine, and sleep medicine, with extra certification in headache medicine and Botox treatment. She is highly recognized as a national speaker in headache and fibromyalgia management. She operates a headache and fibromyalgia clinic in Lisle, which is affiliated with Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Pain Center of Excellence. Please call to schedule an appointment: (630) 420-8080 or visit us at: www.controlchicagopain.com
As Featured In Glancer Magazine, June 2013