Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. It remains one of the hardest illness to be diagnosed as it surfaces as different types of pain and symptoms in different individuals. Its symptoms aside, experts explain 8 types of fibromyalgia pain.
This medical term refers to an excess of pain associated with fibromyalgia. Hyperalgesia is the most common type of fibromyalgia pain where the pain response reaches the brain and increases in volume, thereby making the pain signals more severe than normal.
Treatment: Most drugs given for managing fibromyalgia pain is aimed at reducing hyperalgesia. This condition is associated with nerve damage or irritation and requires medication such as Gabapentin, SSRI or tricyclic antidepressants, NSAIDS, glucocorticoids, pregabalin, NMDA antagonists or atypical opioids like Tramadol.
Precaution: After using a particular opioid for three to six months, another may be used as preventive treatment. The addition of NMDA receptor antagonist such as methadone, dextromethorphan or ketamine with opioids can also prevent occurence of hyperalgesia.
This condition refers to the abnormal experience of pain from a non-painful stimulation on the skin, such as a very light touch. It is a severe type of migraine, whose frequency, intensity, years of suffering with it have a direct relationship with its presence and severity.
Allodynia is characterized by sensitization at the heart of the pain center, and has over excitable pain nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It has three sub-types:
- Tactile: Here, pain is generated by gentle pressure or light touch.
- Mechanical: Pain is generated by something that brushes across your skin, such as wearing clothes, applying lotion, etc.
- Thermal: Pain is generated from 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 occurs often, use prevention methods such as avoiding touch, avoiding pain stimulating temperatures and avoid wearing clothes made of textured fabrics. For severe pain control, endogenous opioids can be given.
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 the organs within the abdomen such as the kidneys, lungs, heart and liver. 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 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 where exactly the pain is coming from. 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
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.