New non-steroidal treatment offers relief for fibromyaligia patients

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on August 10, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 10 at 12:12 PM

Fibromyaligia is a widely misunderstood condition that causes often debilitating pain throughout the body, as well as fatigue.

"It's really misunderstood because it's difficult to diagnose," explained Dr. Alex Bigham of Novocur. "It involves all-over muscular ache. It feels like a deep muscle ache, and it's all over the body."

If you have had such pain for more than three months, you should consider a visiting a doctor who can perform a tender-point examination.

"There are 18 specific points on the body, and they're just going to feel -- palpate -- them," Bigham said, "Those spots are excessively tender to fibromyalgia patients."

While fibromyalgia is not well understood -- it's thought to be triggered by emotional or physical traumatic events -- it can be treated. What's more, it can be treated without steroids.

"We've come up with a very new, very safe, very effective treatment that involves non-steroidal injectable type of a treatment," Bigham said. "We're able to inject a lot of this medication into all of the areas where they're hurting, which we can't do with a steroid because the steroid has a break-down effect on soft tissue. You want to be very sparing when you're using a steroid. With this non-steroidal application, we're able to really flood these areas where they're having pain."

Bigham said Novocur treatment is similar to rebooting a computer that's having problems.

"We're kind of pulling the plug on the nervous system, starting all over again, trying to get the patient's brain out of this cyclical pattern where it's perceiving pain over sensitively," he said.

Getting the fibromyalgia under control can also help several associated conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, depression and headaches.

"We're able to get them off a lot of their medications that they were previously on," Bigham said.

The treatment starts with a series of three shots a couple of weeks apart.

"Generally we end up treating just about every part of their spine over the course of a few weeks in order to basically reset the entire nervous system."

PPO-type insurance and Medicare often cover the treatments.

>>> Learn more about Novocur fibromyalgia treatment

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