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Secondary Illnesses That Are Often Associated With Fibromyalgia

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed or have been living with fibromyalgia for years, you know how debilitating the widespread pain, chronic fatigue, and muscle sensitivity are. 

But it doesn’t end there. A variety of health conditions accompany fibromyalgia, adding to your already long list of symptoms. 

Dr. Raul Lopez and our team of experts at West Texas Pain Institute specialize in difficult-to-understand pain conditions like fibromyalgia and know that there’s often more to the story. We’re exploring a few of the lesser-known secondary conditions, so you can better understand fibromyalgia’s effect on your whole health and get the right treatments. 

Fibromyalgia and IBS

Fibromyalgia impacts a small portion of the United States population, but it’s incredibly common in people who have irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, over half of IBS patients experience the widespread pain, fatigue, and sensitivity that’s associated with fibromyalgia. 

Both fall into broad categories of functional disorders, where doctors have trouble pinpointing what’s wrong with your health. In both cases, your nervous system is overly sensitive, and the area of your brain that processes pain is overactive, which aggravates your symptoms. 

Fibromyalgia and headaches/migraines

With fibromyalgia, your nervous system is hypersensitive and on constant high alert. This oversensitivity to your surroundings often triggers frequent headache and migraine attacks. The sensitivity in your soft tissues can cause chronic tension in your neck and shoulder muscles, which can also lead to headaches. 

Fibromyalgia and cognitive problems

If you have fibromyalgia, you often find yourself living under what some refer to as “fibro fog.” This refers to the confusion, lack of concentration, and other cognitive problems that seem to accompany your pain and sensitivity. 

It’s believed that chronic pain combined with lack of sleep is to blame for cognitive issues. Some theorize that certain parts of your brain don’t receive enough oxygen when you have fibromyalgia, which contributes to cloudy thinking and disorientation.

Fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s syndrome

Raynaud’s syndrome refers to a condition where your blood vessels constrict more than they should, reducing blood flow to your extremities and making them cold and painful. Many people with fibromyalgia also have Raynaud’s syndrome. Its impact on your blood vessels often aggravates or causes a flareup of your fibromyalgia symptoms, which often involves sensitivity to temperature.

Fibromyalgia and mental health

Living under the weight of chronic pain takes a toll on both your physical and mental health and can lead to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, if you have fibromyalgia, you’re three times more likely to suffer from depression. It’s also believed that the changes in brain activity and your nervous system contribute to changes in your moods and emotions. 

Treating fibromyalgia and its related conditions

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you manage your symptoms and live a happy, healthy, and full life. We work closely with you to create a customized treatment plan that addresses your fibromyalgia symptoms and any related conditions. 

Depending on your needs, you may benefit from a combination of treatments, including:

Talk to Dr. Lopez about all of your symptoms and any treatments you’ve tried in the past to help him determine how best to treat your condition. 

If you’re ready to start living a symptom-free life or simply want more information, don’t hesitate to call our office or request an appointment online at our El Paso, Texas, location.

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