Sunday, January 8, 2012

What is the Difference Between Fibrositis and Fibromyalgia?



QUESTION: My condition, fibrositis, still seems confusing to me and very
difficult to deal with. Perhaps you can offer some new insight. What is the
difference between it and fibromyalgia? Are there any treatments that give
relief? Please give me all the help you can.

ANSWER: A confusing disease indeed, even its name can cause confusion.
Fibrositis and fibromyalgia are the same disease (also know as Myofascial Pain
Syndrome). The term fibromyalgia (meaning muscle pain) is now preferred, for
there is no inflammatory process ("itis") seen in this syndrome. It is
classified as a rheumatic disorder that can cause pain, tenderness and
stiffness in muscles and tendons at specific "trigger points" that are
distributed over the back of the neck and shoulders, the sides of the breast
bone and the bony points of the elbows and hips. In addition there are a
whole flock of nonrheumatic symptoms to complicate the patient's life; poor
sleep, anxiety, fatigue and even irritable bowel symptoms.
While this confusing syndrome makes accurate studies hard to find, it is estimated that
as many as 10 million Americans may suffer from the condition. It is most
common in women and occurs between the ages of 35 and 60. Since there is no
cure, I can list the types of treatment that may offer you some relief, over
and above the use of analgesics such as aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.
They include both ice packs and heat treatments, relaxation techniques, stress
management, biofeedback and stretching exercises. Low doses of tricyclic
drugs at bedtime may help sleep problems and reduce pain. A tender point may
be injected locally with a 1% lidocaine solution in combination with a 40 mg
hydrocortisone acetate suspension. Your prognosis may be favorable utilizing
a comprehensive, supportive program along with your physician's advice.