Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness all over the body and extreme tiredness. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include disturbed sleep, impaired thinking, memory and concentration, migraine or tension headaches, depression, anxiety, pain in the face or jaw, pelvic pain and digestive problems such as abdominal pain, bloating from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms must be present for at least three months.
Doctors consider fibromyalgia to be a pain disorder. Fibromyalgia can restrict many activities of daily living and can result in an inability to work. However, it is not a life-threatening condition.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The cause of fibromyalgia is not clear. Current research suggests involvement of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). People with certain genes may be more prone to getting fibromyalgia. However, genes alone do not cause fibromyalgia. There is generally a trigger that sets off fibromyalgia. It may be physical or emotional stress, an injury or illness. The result is a change in the way the body talks with the spinal cord and brain. Pain signals that are being sent through the central nervous system are turned up too high.
How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion. There are no laboratory tests or biomarkers that can determine if you are suffering from fibromyalgia.
The diagnosis is based on a physical examination, a complete medical history and details about the patient’s symptoms. Patients are assessed by the widespread pain index (WPI). The WPI divides the body into 19 areas where it is common for people with fibromyalgia to have pain and tenderness. The symptom severity (SS) score assesses severity of fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive symptoms and physical symptoms.
How is Fibromyalgia Treated?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, there are treatment options to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia (pain, fatigue, sleep and emotional difficulties). Three medications have been approved to treatment fibromyalgia.
Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) work by changing some of the brain chemicals that help control pain. Pregabalin (Lyrica) targets brain chemicals that affect how much pain you experience.
Treatment for fibromyalgia can also include non-drug therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on how thought patterns and behaviour affect pain and other symptoms. A certified professional can help patients learn how to change negative thought patterns and behaviour to reduce pain and to improve sleep. Related treatments such as mindfulness can also help patients learn symptom reduction skill. Mindfulness is a non-spiritual meditation practice that cultivates present moment awareness. Physical exercise has also proven to reduce symptoms. Patients should consult their doctors before they start an exercise program.
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and massage therapy may also assist in managing symptoms.
Mood difficulties may require specialized care from a psychiatrist and treatment from a certified therapist.
Challenges Faced with Fibromyalgia.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia remains controversial. In the medical community, some doctors remain skeptical regarding this condition. As the symptoms of fibromyalgia are generally subjective, many insurance companies will not accept your diagnosis or the impact of fibromyalgia on your ability to work.
Can You Sue for Fibromyalgia?
If your fibromyalgia resulted from a car accident, a slip or trip and fall or from negligent treatment from a healthcare provider, or if you have wrongfully been denied disability benefits, you may be entitled to pursue legal remedies.
Retain a Lawyer to Represent You.
Contact a personal injury lawyer if you suffer fibromyalgia as a result of being injured by the actions of another. With supportive medical evidence, you may be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses, including lost wages and health care expenses, and damages for your pain and suffering and future losses.
You should also seek legal advice if your long-term disability benefits have been denied or terminated by your insurer.
Many insurers and defence lawyers will not accept your diagnosis of fibromyalgia and will discount your invisible pain. At Bogoroch & Associates, we understand the nature of your condition and the significant challenges that you face. We will marshal the evidence necessary to achieve the best possible result for you and your family.
Bogoroch & Associates LLP is experienced in all aspects of personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. We have the confidence and skill to advance your motor vehicle accident or medical malpractice claim to settlement or trial while helping you navigate the complex medical, legal, and insurance issues.
Our experience, commitment to excellence, and reputation have long been recognized. Our founding partner, Richard M. Bogoroch, has been recognized as a leading personal injury lawyer by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and by The Best Lawyers in Canada. The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and The Best Lawyers in Canada are two highly regarded lawyer rating publications.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or believes that you are a victim of malpractice or negligence, reach out to a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer to understand if you too have a claim. Please contact any of our personal injury lawyers at Bogoroch & Associates LLP for a free consultation.