What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting more than 5 million people in the US. Yet, fibromyalgia can be difficult and, at times, a frustrating journey to diagnosis and treatment.
Fibromyalgia pain is different than pain you may experience from a headache or sprained ankle. Fibromyalgia is a specific kind of pain that’s chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness. “Chronic” means that the pain lasts a long time – at least 3 months or longer. Many people experience fibromyalgia pain for years before being diagnosed.
“Widespread” means that it is felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of the body.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia vary from person to person. The symptoms can be worse on some days than others. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be affected by your level of stress or physical activity. All these factors contribute to making fibromyalgia a condition that is difficult to diagnose.
Pain symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Deep muscle pain and soreness
- Morning stiffness
- Radiating pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Migraine headaches
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks
- Stress and anxiety
Interventional Pain Procedures Under X-Ray Guidance
A variety of interventional procedures can be used to treat a range of pain conditions, from chronic low back pain to migraine headaches. Many of these techniques are performed under X-Ray guidance, which helps the physician deliver the therapy—whether it’s a steroid injection or heat-based remedy—to the exact source of the pain. Dr. Williams is skilled in determining the most appropriate interventional procedure for each patient, and administering that procedure to achieve the greatest possible pain relief.
Our Pain Management and Integrative Medicine practice is pleased to provide a range of interventional treatment options, including the following:
- Epidural Steroid InjectionsAn Epidural Steroid Injection is a minimally invasive procedure performed under live X-Ray guidance that is used to treat pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, upper and lower back, buttocks, and legs that results from irritation of spinal nerve roots. A variety of conditions such as herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can cause a stenosis (narrowing) of the openings through which nerves exit the spine, which can be irritating to the nerves. By injecting low doses of long-lasting corticosteroids (potent anti-inflammatory pain medications) targeted directly to the source of the pain (instead of much larger oral or intravenous doses) this inflammation can be decreased, providing pain relief. These office-based procedures take approximately five minutes to perform and may be done under either local anesthesia or comfortable sedation.
- Medial Branch Blocks / Facet Joint InjectionsMedial Branch Blocks and Facet Joint Injections are minimally invasive procedures performed under live X-Ray guidance that are used to diagnose and treat pain arising from the small joints of the spine (facet joints). Diseases of these joints can produce pain in the neck, upper and lower back, and buttocks. Just like any other joint in the body (such as the knee or elbow) these joints may be acutely injured or produce chronic pain due to conditions such as arthritis. Medial Branch Blocks and Facet Joint Injections deliver low doses of long-lasting corticosteroids and local anesthetics directly to the source of the pain to alleviate discomfort. These office-based procedures take approximately five minutes to perform and may be done either under local anesthesia or comfortable sedation.
- Radiofrequency Nerve AblationsRadiofrequency Nerve Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed under live X-Ray guidance to treat back and neck pain by using precisely controlled heat to temporarily and selectively disable nerves responsible for pain. The procedure involves inserting a specialized needle with a heated tip near the problematic nerve, where the heat interrupts the nerve’s ability to send pain signals. This office-based procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to perform and may be done either under local anesthesia or comfortable sedation.
- Major Joint Injections (Knee, Hip, Shoulder)Joint injections are minimally invasive procedures performed either under live X-Ray or ultrasound guidance to treat pain resulting from various causes, including osteoarthritis. Medications such as corticosteroids, local anesthetics, or hyaluronan (i.e. Synvisc, Hyalgan, etc.) are injected directly into the source of the pain to provide relief from mild to moderate osteoarthritis. This office-based procedure takes about 10 minutes to perform.
- Occipital Nerve BlocksOccipital Nerve Blocks are safe, office-based procedures used to treat various types of headaches, including migraines. Local anesthetic with or without a small dose of corticosteroid is used in this injection, which is administered to the back of the head near the greater and lesser occipital nerves. This procedure takes about 30 seconds to complete.
- Trigger point injection (TPI)Trigger point injection (TPI) may be an option for treating pain in some patients. TPI is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin.
Neck And Back Pain
In most instances, it is not necessary to visit a back doctor, since the pain might disappear even without treatment. However, if you have consistent tingling and numbness, or if the condition does not improve after the initial home treatment, then you should see a specialist. However, if your neck or back pain is accompanied by weakness, trouble urinating, numbness in the arms or legs, severe pain which radiates into the extremities, unintentional weight loss, and fever, you should not hesitate. Such symptoms could lead
to a serious problem, if not treated soon.
Many doctors trained to treat neck and back pain have different skills, training and levels of specialization. Often, there is not a single doctor who can address all your problems. However, for better diagnosing, treating, and managing back problems, the physical medicine physician will frequently work together with other medical or surgical specialists who will be consulted as needed. We have found that the combination of specialist physicians, when working together, help to achieve integrated spine care which usually results in better overall care.
Generally, we recommend that you start with a visit to your primary care physician if you are suffering from neck or back pain and there is no improvement. After their initial assessment, ask your doctor to refer you to Louisville Physical Medicine to get the help you need.