fibromyalgia and pain managementBy: Susan Wolf

My ten-year struggle with fibromyalgia began while I was working as an RN. I worked per diem in surgery at a busy surgical center. My work was stressful at times, but I enjoyed the fellow staff. I started to notice in May of 2006 that my hands hurt so much that they would wake me up at night. A week later I noticed both of my knees hurt, especially going up and down stairs.

I decided to make an appointment with my primary care physician thinking maybe I had rheumatoid arthritis. He did some tests which ruled out rheumatoid arthritis and told me the next step was to see a rheumatologist who did her fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She did my exam, and then said to me, I think you have fibromyalgia. She ordered many lab tests to rule out anything else. She told me it would be best to stop working since I was only aggravating my condition.

Over the years, I was sent to Mayo Clinic, since my fibromyalgia was so severe, to see if I had the proper diagnosis. My final diagnosis was Severe Fibromyalgia. Medications were started with Cymbalta which deeply affected my memory. I was then placed on Savella, which increased my blood pressure. The final fibromyalgia drug was Lyrica, which caused tinnitus.

After many years of seeking the help of many specialists, I started with a pain management practice.

I now am feeling so much better. There are physicians in the practice to help with many treatments. I have had radio frequency ablation of the nerves in my neck so I can freely turn my neck. My physician recommended I see a psychiatrist for medication for depression. The psychiatrist placed me on Clonazepam low dose for anxiety along with Lexapro for depression.

The medications made an incredible difference in the way I was feeling before I had taken them. I was having sleep issues with a sleep study showing I was awakened frequently, moving as though I was in pain. The pain management physician ordered ZOHYDRO ER in an extended release so I would receive medication all night. I was also placed on Restoril for sleep. I am amazed how much better I feel and function so much better.

My other helpful interventions are walking daily short distances and massage therapy twice a month. I also see a chiropractor once every six weeks to keep my hips in alignment. If I have any other pain issues, I see a physical therapist.

I went through a long journey to finally find a treatment protocol that works for me. My suggestion to anyone reading this article is not to give up but keep trying until you find a routine that works for you.

Susan Wolf