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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: Fibromyalgia or more? Advice desperately needed!

 tiasha - Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:48 am

Last april i fell and landed on my upper back. X-ray, MRI, and EMG showed no damage. I went through physical therapy which made back pain worse and I also started hurting all over. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I started having problems with my memory and balance and cognitive ability. As these symptoms worsoned my Dr. ordered an MRI of my brain. This showed a few plaques. The frontal lobes could not be seen due to artifact from my orthodontic braces. She sent me to a neuro who did another MRI which gave the same results. Report says possible Lyme disease or MS. I tested negative for Lyme disease. Neuro decided to wait and retest in 6 months. Well that MRI was normal. Neuro said nothing was wrong with me besides being majorly depressed. We went to the CLeveland clinic for a second opinion. Neuro said MRI's were overread and nothing was wrong with me other than possibly the Fibro.

Since that visit my symptoms continue to worsen. I have been to the ER twice in the past month.The first time someone bumped my foot which sent an electrical type feeling up my leg. My leg then went numb. ER said it was anxiety. The second time was due to the other leg feeling numb, hot, cold, and sensitive all at the same time. The other day at church someone tapped me on my left shoulder. A few minutes later my entire upper back went into a spasm and my left arm kept jerking. This lasted about an hour.

I have numbness and tingling that come and go all day long. I have days where I get this sharp burning pain that only last a few seconds but several occur in a row over different parts of my body. (for example the 1st will be in my arm, then my back, then my neck, etc). My short term memory is GONE. I have days that I can't cook a meal by myself because I can't remember how to do it. The one constant through all of this has been the back pain. I have had it every day since the fall. 99%of the pain is in my upper back right between the shoulder blades.

Everywhere I turn I am told it is Fibromyalgia and I am depressed. I am beginning to feel like I am crazy. Should I just accept this diagnosis or continue to seek help?

 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Thu Aug 19, 2004 9:21 am

User avatar Dear Tiasha,

Chronic pain syndromes are difficult to deal with. They are usually associated with depression because of the chronic pain, the need to take medications and the inability to perform one's duties and responsibilites and being inactive because of the pain. And you are not crazy, the pain is real and this is not your fault that you are having pain.

i don't think i have much to offer except suggesting to have another imaging of your back to make sure that you have not had any new back injuries.

One more thing, most of the patients with fibromyalgia usually follow up with rheumatologists for adjusting medications.

There is one medication that i have seen rheumatologists use over and over which is amitriptyline at night. Also, patients usually go to water therapy as it was found to alleviate the pain better than the traditional phyiscal therapy.

i think you might also consider talking to your doctor about an antidepressant other than wellbutrin if it is not doing the job.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 tiasha - Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:10 am

I went to physical therapy a month or so after the fall. The therapy didn't help at all. At that point the pain was only in my upper back. Then we tried the water therapy. Thats when the pain spread throughout my entire body.

My pain managment Dr. specializes only with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. He tried to add Elavil but it just made me so tired I couldn't function. At that time though fatigue was one of my worst symptoms. I think I am going to ask him if we can try it again.

I read something yesterday about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome and wonder somewhat if this could be a possibility. I seem to have a lot of the symptoms associated with this. I am probably just grabbing at straws. I just want so much to feel better.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:22 pm

User avatar Dear Tiasha,

i think you can start with real low doses of elavil and work your way up.

Why don't you try water therapy once more, if you feel worse then you could stop.

As regards to whether or not the pain that you have could be caused by reflex dympathetic dystrophy, reflex dympathetic dystrophy is on the chronic pain syndrome and it can your pain but i am not in a position to make a diagnosis since i have not seen or examined you.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped and feel free to post any concerns.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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