- Degenerative Disk
Disease: (DDD) (DJD) Degenerative Disk is not an auotimmune
illness. Technically it is a form of osteoarthritis that affects the
spine causes the disks to degenerate and frequently herniate.
Stenosis often occurs causing a narrowing of the spinal opening. In
severe cases this can lead to impingement of the spinal chord
itself. When pressure to the chord develops, paralysis is a
possibility and surgical intervention becomes necessary. Milder
cases can often be treated conservatively.
(FM) (FMS) FM
is a chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which
the cause is unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and
tendons-the fibrous tissues in the body. In addition to pain and fatigue,
other symptoms include unrefreshed sleep, irritable bowel, chronic
headaches, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairments, reduced
coordination and decreased endurance.
- Although pain and
fatigue are the two major symptoms of FMS, other symptoms vary from
individual to individual. They include: Muscular Pain: 100% Fatigue: 96%
Insomnia: 86% Joint Pain: 72% Headaches: 60% Restless Legs: 56% Numbness and
Tingling: 52% Impaired Memory: 46% Leg Cramps: 42% Impaired Concentration:
41% Nervousness: 32% Major Depression: 20% (3).
- In 1990 the newly
established diagnostic criteria for FM stated that a patient had to have a
history of widespread pain for at least three months and pain in at least 11
of the 18 specifically located tender points. These along with other
symptoms help distinguish FM from other conditions.
- There is no cure for
FM. Current treatments vary from patient to patient, but normally work
towards improving sleep and eliminating pain.
- Doctors recommend: low
doses of medicines that increase levels of serotonin and norepinephrine
(neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, pain and immune system function),
non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, trigger point injections
with lidocaine, physical therapy, acupuncture & acupressure, relaxation
techniques, and gentle exercise.
- Since the onset
of FMS can be abrupt, a person life can be virtually completely altered in a
very short period of time. The majority of FMS suffers are physically
active, high achievers who live very productive lives. From the onset of the
illness, the pain and fatigue impair a person from living the life they are
accustom to. Many FMers have to stop working, quit doing physical activities
and even become socially isolated. The pain and fatigue can place a person
in bed unable to function. The emotional ramifications are many. Getting a
diagnosis can be difficult, so that causes a reaction of great fear and
frustration. Many patients are made to feel like "it's their
fault", which undermines their self confidence and overall attitudes.
People don't like being around a person who is chronically ill, so many lose
the support of friends and family. Because of the lack of information about
this disease most patients are unable to get any kind of disability.
Supporting one's self becomes a major concern. Learning to live with
irritating symptoms like constant pain, ringing in your ears, muscle spasms,
concentration problems, and insomnia can be overwhelming. A sufferer of FM
has to learn a completely new way of life.