Although awareness about the chronic pain syndrome fibromyalgia is increasing, a lack of knowledge about its root causes, and a lack of clarity about what defines the condition, means patients too often struggle for years before realizing that the range of health issues they have experienced are linked under a single umbrella. Because of the variety of symptoms that present in cases of fibromyalgia–including headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and more–it can take up to five years before a patient is properly diagnosed. A data analysis presented at meeting this year of the American Pain Society attempted to draw out the association between fibromyalgia and various neurological issues.
The study drew on data collected by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer from over 2,000 patients with chronic fibromyalgia involved four double-blind clinical trials during the development of the fibromyalgia drug pregabalin. The researchers found that the patients experienced a range of overlapping neurological and other health issues:
- 45% reported some kind of neurological condition, including headache, dizziness, vertigo, paresthesis, restless leg syndrome, or muscle spasms
- 37% experience severe headaches–migraine, cluster, tension, or vascular
- 37% reported allergies or drug sensitivities
- 26% experience acid reflux
- 25% suffer from insomnia
- 23% reported depression
- 20% reported irritable bowel syndrome
- 12% also suffer from asthma
By linking the frequency of certain neurological issues in patients with fibromyalgia, the findings might be helpful to primary care providers and other health providers, including chiropractors, who may be approached by a patient with undiagnosed fibromyalgia for help dealing with one or more of these symptoms. Understanding how frequently these ailments are grouped will hopefully reduce the amount of time before diagnoses.
For more information on this topic, Dr. Steven Shapiro in Scarsdale, NY has some helpful information on his site about how chiropractors treat fibromyalgia.