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We are proud to offer one of the first outpatient Fibromyalgia management programs to be focused, not only on pain management, but also on increasing functional abilities. Our program consists of a comprehensive 12-week plan, utilizing the collaborative efforts of our physicians, physiotherapists and other health care practitioners. We encourage our patients to play an active role in managing their condition, and provide education on self-management strategies.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a name given to a group of symptoms marked by generalized pain and muscle stiffness. These symptoms can be felt in all different areas of the body. Extreme fatigue and sleep problems are also common. Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to the painful areas, but seems to be due to an over active nervous system which intensifies pain sensation.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia are:
- Pain-usually aching, stiffness and tiredness of muscles. Pain may be at its worst after rest (e.g. first thing in the morning), or after activity
- Extreme fatigue (tiredness), making it difficult to do normal daily activities
- Poor sleep
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Irritable bowel (diarrhea, stomach pain)
What causes Fibromyalgia?
The actual cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, and for many people, it starts for no obvious reason. Extensive research suggests that the affected body may become extra sensitive in how it signals and processes pain.
It can be more common in people who have:
- Inflammatory Arthritis (for example, Rheumatoid Arthritis)
- An illness, such as a virus (or following an illness or infection)
- Pain from an injury or trauma
- Emotional stress and depression
How is it diagnosed?
Fibromyalgia is not a diagnosis; it is a chronic pain condition as the result of an overactive Central Nervous System (brain and spine). Although the painful muscles appear to look and function normally and no blood tests, x-rays or scans can detect any abnormality, the pain is very real. Your doctor or Rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) will look for a number of signs that are typical, and include widespread pain for more than three months, and widespread tenderness of the body.
What happens now?
The good news is that Fibromyalgia does not cause any lasting damage to the muscles or joints. It is important to remember that, with proper help and a better understanding, the symptoms can be effectively managed. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can range from very mild to severe, and may last for many years, or come and go at different times. With the right advice, most people find they learn to manage the pain and tiredness over time. If the pain is more severe and affecting your normal activities, our program is for you.