Fibromyalgia: Why am I in so much pain?

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Since the birth of my child on New Year's Day 2005, I have experienced muscle and bone pain all over my body. I have been to my GP and have seen a bone/arthritis specialist who arranged an MRI scan on my ankles, but they cannot find anything wrong. A GP friend of mine has told me it may be fibromyalgia, for which there is no cure. The pain gets worse when I am tired. I was perfectly healthy before the pregnancy. I weighed nine stone before the pregnancy and around 12 stone after.

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious condition that causes widespread muscular pain and tiredness. Although it is sometimes misrepresented as a psychological problem, it is almost certainly a chronic pain condition that has both physical and psychological manifestations. Unfortunately, there is no simple diagnostic blood test and no simple curative treatment. People with fibromyalgia have tender spots in their muscles, sometimes called "trigger points". If you do not have these tender spots, it is difficult to make a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There is no recognised connection between fibromyalgia and pregnancy, so I think it may just be a coincidence that the problems started after your baby was born. If you haven't yet returned to your pre-pregnancy weight, you should try to get there. Exercise, especially stretching and gentle aerobic exercise, seems to help. Ordinary painkillers do not work very well in fibromyalgia, but a small dose of an antidepressant often does help the pain (even if you are not suffering from depression). An American website gives an overview of fibromyalgia: www.myalgia.com. The NHSDirect website is also good: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk (click on health encyclopaedia).

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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