Friday, January 31, 2014

Can Chronic Pain Cause Symptoms of Fibromaylgia?

Medication to Deal With Chornic Pain and Fibro SymtpomsIt has been a while since I have updated my blog and I thought that I would catch you up on what is going on with my health.  In late August, I asked my pain management doctor if there wasn't another alternative to Cymbalta because even with insurance it was very expensive.  At the time, we didn't know how much longer it would be until Lilly's patent ran out so that they could begin making a generic.  My doctor decided to slowly wean me off the Cymbalta slowly so that my body wouldn't go into shock from completely stopping the medication cold turkey.  After I stopped taking the Cymbalta completely, my pain tripled and I had a hard time functioning.  It took all of my energy to attempt to take care of my youngest son during the day and I felt horrible physically and emotionally.

After a week of feeling like I had the flu, I broke down and called my primary care doctor so that he could run some tests.  I addressed to my pain management doctor that I felt like I had some other medical issues going on because my pain was radiating to all of the joints in my body and my pain wasn't localized to my back any longer.  I had pain in my hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, back, ankles, and more.  My primary care dr ruled out any autoimmune diseases and did the typical physical tests for Fibromyalgia.  He wanted me to follow up with my pain management Dr.  So I contacted my pain management doctor for an appointment because something had to change immediately.  He looked at my blood work that I had done at my primary care doctor and said it looked normal too him.  

My pain management doctor asked me if I wanted to try another antidepressant to help control the pain.  I told him that I had to do something because my pain was off the charts and I felt horrible.  I was in a dark place emotionally because of my pain.  After giving the new medication a try, it took a few months to get the dosage to a therapeutic level.  Of course, even the medication doesn't take away all of my physical pain but it did stabilize my emotional health.  My emotional health so fragile before trying the new medication and it is doing its job to help me cope with my pain.  It doesn't work as well as Cymbalta but even then I was having breakthrough pain and felt it wasn't working that well, until I came off of it completely.  

If you suffer from chronic pain, you are more likely to develop secondary symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  According to About.com, secondary Fibromyalgia appears after or in conjunction with other chronic health problems such as:
  • physical injury
  • ankylsoing spondylitis (a form of arthritis in your spine)
  • surgery
  • lymes disease
  • hepatitis C
Secondary Fibromyalgia is a bit harder for doctors to treat because there are multiple medical conditions going on at once.  If you are suffering from chronic pain, you need to seek medical treatment so that your doctor can work with you closely to rule out what it triggering your pain symptoms.

At this time, I don't think my doctor has given me a formal diagnosis of Fibromyalgia mainly because it takes some time for doctors to determine other medical conditions that mimic the same symptoms.  There isn't any tests available on the market that makes diagnosing Fibromyalgia easy.  In fact, your doctor will likely do tests and blood work to rule out other medical conditions.  Most doctors will give you a formal diagnosis for Fibromyalgia if you have had wide spread pain for 3 months or longer and have 11 out of 18 tender points.  Don't be surprised if it takes the doctors a long time to give you a formal diagnosis.  

Even though I am on the typical treatment plan that they would use to treat Fibromyalgia, I still experience wide spread pain on a daily basis.  Some days are harder than others and there are days where I want to crawl in bed and stay there all day long.  It has been a long time since I have had a low pain day and my medications only reduce the pain a small amount.  On a typical day, I experience deep pain in my bones, muscles, and I am tender to the touch.  

I applied for disability in October of 2012 and I have been denied several times (I will blog about the process in more detail at a later time).  I am currently awaiting a hearing with the judge to determine if I am eligible to receive disability.  

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