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Treating Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes aching muscles, sleep problems and fatigue. The best way to distinguish it from other disorders that cause chronic pain is that with fibromyalgia, the pain is all over your body. “You are not just going to have ankle and wrist pain on one side, or hot, red, swollen joints as with gout,” says Erica E. Gibson, MD, family practice physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “With fibromyalgia, the nerves that tell your body you are in pain become overstimulated. There is a neurotransmitter conduction problem.”

Erica E. Gibson, MD
Erica E. Gibson, MD

Treatment can include pain reliever creams and trigger point injections, but cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most important ways to lessen pain. “The pain becomes worse with stress,” Gibson says. “Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you the skills to cope with that stress. Sleep is also important. The more rested you are, the less pain you will have.”

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