How to fight your fibromyalgia

FOX 46 is getting results for your pain. Imagine dealing with widespread pain, fatigue and exhaustion all over your body.

“Usually people have diffused chronic pain in the muscles,” explained Dr. Genevieve Brauning with Novant Health South Park Family Physicians. “The most common thing people will say is they feel like they have the flu. They are always aching and it’s what many of us would think if we were fighting off an infection,” she added.

Most people can fight the infection but if you’re diagnosed with fibromyalgia the pain doesn’t go away. It’s most common in middle aged women.

Some of the symptoms include pain, stiffness, fatigue, problems sleeping, depression and even headaches.

“It’s very difficult to diagnose because we don’t have one specific test we can run like a blood test. It is what we call a clinical diagnosis,” Dr. Brauning said. Lab tests can, however, rule out other conditions. Medical experts don’t fully understand the causes for fibromyalgia.

While there’s no cure, Brauning says there are things that can be done.

“We will try to improve people’s sleep quality, exercise, and even massage can be helpful to prevent spasms,” Brauning said. There are medications that can be used to help with the pain and depression but classic pain medications like opioids, she stresses, are not helpful in these types of situations.

One challenge, she says, is that when you are tired and you hurt you’re even less motivated to get out and be active. Brauning says that’s why she tries to start with small goals and work to make progress with patients over time.

If you have any questions or concerns, Brauning says it is best to speak with your primary care physician.