Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
While fibromyalgia is a common, chronic pain disorder affecting nearly 10 million Americans (mostly women), it is complex. There are varying levels of intensity and combinations of symptoms that differ from person to person. There is notable pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, as fibromyalgia affects individuals physically. Yet, there are social, psychological and cognitive components as well. There are ties to depression, anxiety, insomnia, sensitivity to light, memory and mood issues and the inability to think clearly. In turn, there are numerous overlapping conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal disease, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), lupus and arthritis.
Consider the following conditions related to fibromyalgia:
- Low back pain
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy (pain from nerve damage)
- Polymyalgia rheumatic (inflammatory disorder)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (severe extension of PMS)
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Drug withdrawal
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tension headaches
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
It’s important to understand that not everyone that suffers from fibromyalgia will experience or develop the above-mentioned conditions. Yet, they are related due to common symptoms and manifestations.
Pain Management and Rehabilitation for Fibromyalgia
Though little is known about the background and cause(s) of fibromyalgia, researchers suggest that genetic, psychological, infection or trauma play a role. In turn, it is believed that changes in the brain cause individuals to interpret pain differently, with greater sensitivity. Either way, patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach to pain management and rehabilitation. There is an emphasis on reducing pain and debilitating symptoms, improving energy and function and supporting patients and their families with education and positive reinforcement.
Physiatrists remain well-positioned to propose and manage pain and rehabilitation for Fibromyalgia, with knowledge and exposure across multiple disciplines and interrelated conditions. Treatment is highly individualized and tailored to the specific needs of each patient. If the patient’s pain interferes with sleep, this must be addressed. In addition, fatigue and depression should be treated accordingly. Antiepileptics can be given to inhibit the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, which process pain. In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be suggested to manage pain levels and flare-ups.
Physiatrists realize that physiological stress and pain directly affect a patient’s psychological and mental wellness. Thus, discovering a way to manage pain empowers patients, reversing the belief that they are “disabled.” Along with pain management, physiatrists coordinate and advise rehabilitation that includes exercise, particularly aerobics and strength training. When used for a 12-week period, aerobic conditioning and strength training provide multiple benefits. The benefits can range from pain reduction, a decrease in muscular sensitivity and improved self-worth.
Dr. Howard Liss is an esteemed physiatrist in Tenafly with a passion for helping patients with fibromyalgia move past their pain and into a more functional, productive and happy life. Because fibromyalgia is a clinical syndrome (not a disease), Dr. Liss is confident that there is a protocol to help patients control and manage their symptoms and begin to enjoy life again.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Liss, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly today.