Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Fibromyalgia is a central pain syndrome characterized by
chronic pain, fatigue, and tenderness to touch.
Fibromyalgia is the most common
cause of chronic, widespread pain in the United States.
2%-4% of the population, mostly women.
Exercise and getting enough sleep are
very important in the management of fibromyalgia. Taking medications can help
relieve the pain.
There is no test to detect fibromyalgia. When a physician
suspects fibromyalgia, sometimes tests are necessary to exclude other medical
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that
affects 4% of the population of the United States. Fibromyalgia commonly affects
the muscles and ligaments and usually has been present for years when a
physician diagnoses the
condition. Fibromyalgia was formerly known as fibrositis.
What causes fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia has been shown to be genetic. It
frequently becomes evident after stressful events. The stressful events may be
emotional (such as a traumatic life event), physical (such as a motor-vehicle
accident), or medical (such as certain infections). The chronic pain of
rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and other autoimmune diseases
can trigger the development of fibromyalgia.
The manner in which the brain and
spinal cord process pain sensations is abnormal in fibromyalgia. The threshold
at which stimuli cause pain or discomfort has been proven to be lower in
fibromyalgia. The pain felt is more intense because the pain is amplified by
the abnormalities in the central nervous system and in pain processing. Because
of this, things that are not normally painful may be painful for someone with
fibromyalgia. In addition, fibromyalgia causes the pain from any given cause to
be worse. For example, a patient with fibromyalgia may find a massage painful
instead of pleasant. In addition, back pain that someone without fibromyalgia
experiences as moderate may be experienced as severe by someone with
fibromyalgia, because the pain is amplified by abnormalities in pain processing
by the central nervous system.
Fibromyalgia: 3 Things Patients Can Do for Themselves
It is not unusual for a patient
with fibromyalgia to ask the doctor: "What can I do to help relieve my
symptoms? After all, I am not very interested in medications."
Some patients with fibromyalgia
make this or similar statements to their doctors because they are often younger
and many do not have underlying (additional ongoing) medical conditions
(although some do).