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Q: My husband complains of constant pain and tiredness. Can you tell me what are the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia, how it is diagnosed, what causes it and treatment?

A: Fibromyalgia is a condition that produces chronic pain of the soft tissues that may include the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It takes hold of its sufferers and creates intolerable muscle pain, severe fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive problems, and multiple infections. It also may produce a number of other symptoms including temperature sensitivities; numbness and tingling that may travel throughout the body, fatigue, insomnia, concentration problems, gastric upset, headaches, joint discomfort and depression.

Diagnosis is difficult. Currently there is not a medical test available that will clearly diagnosis the condition. Fibromyalgia does not provide a clear physical, visual trait that can easily be recognized by a physician. This is due to the fact that it arises from a combination of multiple imbalances in the immune and endocrine systems of the body. It is often misdiagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis or Rheumatoid Arthritis, although the occurrence of this misdiagnosis is decreasing as we gain better understanding of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.

The underlying cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown. Research is ongoing to understand the exact cause and new treatment options. To date, researchers agree that Fibromyalgia patients have an enhanced pain sensitivity and response originating from the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia is almost always associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Traumatic illness or injury may trigger the condition. In addition, research is continuing to determine if other factors may lead to the development of Fibromyalgia including: genetics, environmental factors, autoimmune dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and connective tissue disease.

Treatment requires a well rounded program that, with the assistance of a knowledgeable physician who will work diligently to determine the underlying factors, requires metabolic balancing which includes improving quality of sleep, correcting hormone imbalances, optimizing the immune system and eradicating any chronic underlying infections, nutritional counseling and correction of nutritional deficits, conditioning and exercise programs, alternative therapies such as acupressure and massage, stress management and relaxation techniques, as well as, some lifestyle changes.

Dr. Aldino L. Pierotti, III

Dr. Aldino L. Pierotti, III, Medical Director, Anti-Aging, Longevity, & Preventive Medicine of Pittsburgh, can be reached at (412) 235-7087 or visit www.avchealth.com or www.antiagingpittsburgh.com

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