Fibromyalgia remains one of the toughest medical condition to be diagnosed. This is because it exhibits different permutation of pain and symptoms in different individuals. Its symptoms aside, experts explain 8 types of fibromyalgia pain.
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Does fibromyalgia cause foot pain? Certainly, with this condition, pain can hit anywhere, at any intensity, at any time. Several studies show that people with fibromyalgia (fibromites) have more foot pain than other people.
While all kinds of pain are unpleasant, some have a bigger impact on your life. Chief among these is foot pain because walking is an essential function. Foot pain also leads to back pain and sore muscles.
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Hyperalgesia is the most common type of fibromyalgia pain. It refers to the increased sensitivity to pain in fibromyalgia patients. This happens when pain response reaches the brain and increases in volume, thereby making pain signals more severe than normal.
Treatment: Most drugs prescribed to help manage fibromyalgia pain is targeted at alleviating hyperalgesia. This condition is linked to nerve damage or irritation and can be treated with medications such as Gabapentin, SSRI or tricyclic antidepressants, NSAIDS, glucocorticoids, pregabalin, NMDA antagonists or atypical opioids like Tramadol.
Precaution: After administering an opioid drug for 3 to 6 months, another drug should be used as preventive treatment. The addition of NMDA receptor antagonist such as methadone, dextromethorphan or ketamine with opioids can also prevent hyperalgesia from occuring.
This condition can be described as an abnormal feeling of pain from a non-painful stimulation on the skin, such as a gentle touch. It is a severe type of pain, whose frequency, intensity, years of suffering have a direct relationship with its presence and severity.
Allodynia is produced by sensitization at the heart of the pain center, which has over excitable pain nerve cells in the central nervous system. It has three sub-types:
- Tactile: Here, pain is brought about by gentle pressure or light touch.
- Mechanical: Pain is brought about by something that brushes across your skin, such as wearing clothes, applying lotion, etc.
- Thermal: Pain is brought about by heat or cold.
Treatment: Medications that help treat Allodynia include Tramadol, Morphine, Lidocaine or painkillers like Vicoden or Norco, Percocet and Oyxcontin.
Precaution: If Allodynia happens frequently, it is advisable to employ prevention methods such as avoiding touch, avoiding pain stimulating temperatures and avoiding clothes made of textured fabrics. For severe pain control, endogenous opioids may be administered.
This is a prickling kind of pain that is also characterized by tingling in the nerves and numbness and clumsiness. It is caused due to an abnormal central nervous system, or the root of fibromyalgia.
Treatment: Medications that cure Paresthesia include anti-depressants such as Seratonin Norepinephrine and Reuptake Inhibitors SNRIs. Vitamin B12 and acupuncture can also help with the condition.
Precaution: If numbness is felt, regain your sensation by moving as much as possible. Avoid any unsafe activities, such as cooking if you are proned to loss of feeling in the hands and legs, clumsiness and dropping things. Keep your home free of rugs or things that will cause you to trip and fall.
Visceral pain generally affects the body’s inner organs also known as viscera. This refers to our key organs located within the torso such as the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys. Due to the way our nerves form around the viscera, the inner organs feel pain differently from other parts of the body. For instance, these organs feel more pain when being stretched or twisted as compared to being sliced or cut. This is because the nerves of the inner organs are more sensitive to some types of pain. Hence, visceral pain can feel very different from other forms of pain.
Visceral pain feels like a fuzzy, undesirable sensation which spreads across the midriff. When suffering from the pain, it can be difficult to know the exact location of the pain. Visceral pain can produce mood symptoms. Patients who experience such pain also experience moodiness or anxiety.
Treatment: To alleviate the pain the patient can administer opioids pain relievers or undergo nerve blocking. The best way to treat visceral pain is to identify and treat the cause of it.
Instead of being a cause of physical pain, neuropathic comes from the nerves. It usually occurs when the nervous system is damaged. Neuropathic pain can produce odd sensations such as formication, tingling, burning, itching, or numbness.
The reason behind why fibro patients experience pain in the nerves in still unclear. Some have suggested that the nervous system can eventually become hypersensitized due to pain. As a result, it sends pain signals to the brain even without an actual damage to the nerves. This can be the case with fibromyalgia. Some patients tend to develop fibromyalgia after experiencing a physical or mental trauma. There are evidences that show both cases may lead to over-sensitivity of the nervous system.
People with fibromyalgia are also susceptible to having pain in the chest, a condition known as Costochondritis. The chest pain can range from mild annoyance to excruciating pain described as being similar to a heart attack.
Costochondritis is caused by an inflammation of the cartilage that links your ribs to the breast bone, also known as the costochondral junctions. Depending on the intensity of the inflammation, you can experience mild to extreme level of pain in the chest. The pain is often referred as burning or stabbing.
Joint pain is very common in fibromyalgia patients. It feels like a swelling sensation and can restrict movement and cause immobility. In particular, fibromyalgia patients are very prone to having temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This condition produces mild to severe jaw pain and aches. The pain is mostly said to be dull and persistent and can occur in the ear, temple, eye area, lower jaw and nape.
Joint pain in fibromyalgia is common also because many fibro patients grapple with various types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis etc. This type of joint pain is described as a dull ache or burning sensation. The pain usually occurs when the particular joint has been used often.
40% of fibromyalgia patients experience tension headaches or migrianes or both. Every individual experience fibromyalgia headaches in different ways. The headaches can surface as
- sharp, pulsing pain
- pain on one side of the head
- pain that spreads to the neck and shoulders
- pain at the back of head and nape, near the tender points
- giddiness or nausea
- sensitivity to light, sound or smell
There are may possible causes of fibromyalgia headaches which range from lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, muscle tension due to tender points or trigger points, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), low magnesium, low serotonin etc.
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a medical condition which often co-exist with Fibromyalgia. This is why fibromyalgia patients often suffer from myofascial pain caused by trigger points, a characteristic symptom of MPS. Trigger points produces local and referred pain in different parts of the body and can result in central sensitization where by the central nervous system becomes a lot more sensitive to pain and other stimuli including light, sound, temperature and touch etc.
The findings of this study are in line with earlier studies done in 2009 and 2010 which also support the theory that widespread active trigger points can lead to central sensitization. The 2010 study, conducted with 30 participants with fibromyalgia, found that most of the 18 specific locations of tender points lies in common myofascial trigger points sites and that the induced pain caused by the trigger points on tender points imitates overall fibromyalgia pain.