Running Tips for Cold and Snowy Weather

Article featured on Brigham Health Hub

During the frigid winter months many runners settle for the treadmill, or even worse, for not running at all. Don’t let the cold weather and snow discourage you from running outside. If you’re prepared, winter runs can be a fun and beautiful experience.

Here are some cold-weather running tips for staying warm and safe during the winter months.

1. Layering and wearing appropriate clothing is crucial for cold-weather running.

You will want to keep most of your body covered and protected from exposure. Wear synthetic, sweat-wicking clothing as your innermost layer. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing as the fabric closest to your skin keeps your body dry and makes your clothes a better insulator. Make sure you are not wearing cotton underwear or socks. Lycra or polypropylene running tights are optimal for the waist down. Your outermost layer should be wind-resistant and waterproof if it is raining or snowing out. GORE-TEX® is a breathable material and is ideal for your outermost layer. If it is very cold, a fleece liner or a long-sleeve shirt is a good option for a middle layer. Dressing in layers allows you to adapt to the weather during your run. A significant amount of body heat can be lost through the head, so make sure you wear a hat. A balaclava or face mask is a good idea when it is extremely cold. Do not forget to wear gloves as well! After your run, it is important to quickly change into dry and warm clothes.

2. Run smart! Be aware of the many cold weather hazards.

During the winter months, the days are shorter and more people will be running in the dark. Try running routes that have street lights and sidewalks or extra space for runners. If you are running in the dark, make sure you wear reflective clothing, and consider wearing a flashing light. Visibility may be poor in bad weather, and you are no match for a car.

It is also important to run carefully, as balance and perception are more difficult with low light. Try to avoid running in snow or slushy areas and certainly avoid running on ice. If you end up running in snow or slush, shorten your stride to avoid falls or groin/hamstring strains and consider wearing traction cleats.

Don’t let the cold weather and snow discourage you from running outside.

3. Know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.

Hypothermia is a dangerous condition that occurs when your body temperature drops below 95°F. Risk factors for hypothermia include extended time in cold temperatures, wetness, improper clothing, dehydration, and exhaustion. The initial signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering and poor coordination. Don’t exceed your fitness levels and run out further than you can comfortably return in cold weather. Also, it’s easy to forget to drink water during the winter, but you still lose moisture in the cold. Remember to remain hydrated.

Frostbite is an injury caused by excessive exposure to extreme cold. It involves tissue damage, usually in the fingers, toes, ears, or nose, that may become permanent if not treated promptly. Symptoms include stiffness and numbness, and the affected area may turn white. The best prevention is to dress properly, but frost nip or mild frostbite can be treated by rapid re-warming of the area by soaking in warm water.

4. Be prepared for an emergency.

It is also a good idea to carry a phone or to have a running buddy. With some extra preparation and forethought, the winter months can certainly remain a great time to run and train!


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

7 Tips for Chronic Pain Management

Article featured on CORA Physical Therapy

Chronic pain leads many people to avoid physical activity. Pain medication is often relied on or prescribed to help manage pain. This can lead to other significant problems such as dependence. An alternative and effective pain management strategy is regular exercise. Starting an exercise program, however, can be a whole other kind of pain.

If you believe the long-term health impact of exercise is the best option for you, here are tips for becoming more active.

Tips for becoming more active

Engaging in regular activity—especially when supervised by a physical therapist—can help you overcome the daily experience of pain and discomfort.

An exercise routine and staying motivated can help you feel better. Movement, in any manner, is a type of exercise. Being mindful of the muscle groups you use during daily activities can help you understand areas of your body that can benefit from improvements. For example, climbing stairs is akin to an aerobic exercise that requires lower body strength. Lifting a laundry detergent bottle is akin to a strengthening exercise that requires upper body strength. Awareness of pain levels, and other things like shortness of breath or the inability to perform an activity can give focus to your program design.

The key is to find ways to integrate activity into your life in a way that is natural. Strength training, increasing flexibility, and improving aerobic fitness are all great goals. Physical Therapy and personal training can help you achieve your health and fitness goals effectively and efficiently. Below are tips for getting active, today.

Get active with these 7 tips

1.Try the stairs.

The elevator is convenient, but stairs are a great form of exercise.

Pro tip: Use the railing to help with balance and while you develop the strength needed to perform this one your own. Push through your heel and try to activate your butt muscles.

2. Walk as much as you can.

Whether around your house or around the store, test your capacity and add on incrementally.

Pro tip: Get the right footwear at your local specialty running shop. Keep a journal and monitor improvement. Avoid going further than 50% of weekly volume in a single walk. (I.e., total weekly walking distance is 3 miles, a single walk should not be longer than 1.5 miles OR if total weekly walking minutes is 1 hour, a single walk should not be longer than 30 minutes)

3. Exercise in front of the TV.

When engaging in any sedentary activity like watching TV, try to get more active. Try working out while watching your favorite show. No equipment required.

Pro tip: Any movement is better than no movement. Explore the directions your arms and legs can go in. One day you can do circles with your arms while the next day your reach up and down. Visit each joint and test its potential (within a pain-free pattern).

4. Walk while on the phone.

Get up and pace back and forth to get steps in as you get the job done. Location doesn’t  matter. Whether at work, home, or on vacation, walking and talking is easy fitness.

Pro tip: Talking on the phone can distract from your awareness of the area around you. Knowing where you are and where you are going can help reduce your risk of falls or getting lost if you do become distracted.

5. Schedule in time for short workouts.

Research has shown that you can get exercise benefits from multiple, shorter sessions in a day vs 1 long session. Try 10 minutes of stretching in the morning followed by a few cardio moves. Repeat that process again on your lunch break. Before bed relax with light stretching. By the end of the day, you would have fit in 30 minutes of dedicated exercise time.

Pro tip: Develop daily routines. Loosen stiff muscles in the morning through movement patterns and stretches you are familiar with. Combat your chronic back pain with core and hip strengthening. Improve your posture with repetitions of pulling your shoulder blades together. The best part? No equipment needed!

5. Exercise with your family!

Trade in an evening together on the couch for a walk, bike ride, or throwing the ball around. This is a fantastic way to increase activity while encouraging healthier habits across your household. Taking a short walk after a meal is also linked to improved digestion and reduced instances of reflux.

Pro tip: Friendly competition may help motivate the youngsters. Rewards can incentivize participation. Pick days of the week that works for everyone and make a pact to be active together.

6. Get those chores done.

Walking the dog, cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn are all physical activities. Prep for your activities with a warmup. Treat them like sport, they are challenging.

Pro tip: Be aware of your posture, alignment of joints, breathing, and balance. Also, take note of sore muscles in the day after. This will help you to be conscious of the muscles you use during these activities, and prepare to use them next time.

Don’t let pain stop you from being active

When pain hits, we may feel the desire to rest more and move less. However, in the case of chronic pain, bed rest or prolonged rest, is not the best way to approach a flare up.

Chronic pain will not go away with a bit of rest. Rather than spending more time off your feet, getting a bit more active could be what you need to help finally experience relief from your discomfort.

Of course, this does not mean that you should disregard the pain and start pushing through it on your own with intense activity.

Working with a physical therapist can help you to reduce the experience of pain and discomfort by educating you on activities that are safe, so it will not leave you feeling worse after you are done.

In fact, as stated by Physiopedia, “The nature of a physiotherapist’s (PT’s) work makes us particularly well placed to initiate a discussion about the level of Physical Activity (PA) with each of our patients.”

When pain hits, we may feel the desire to rest more and move less. However, in the case of chronic pain, bed rest or prolonged rest, is not the best way to approach a flare up.

Chronic pain will not go away with a bit of rest. Rather than spending more time off your feet, getting a bit more active could be what you need to help finally experience relief from your discomfort.

Of course, this does not mean that you should disregard the pain and start pushing through it on your own with intense activity.

Working with a physical therapist can help you to reduce the experience of pain and discomfort by educating you on activities that are safe, so it will not leave you feeling worse after you are done.

In fact, as stated by Physiopedia, “The nature of a physiotherapist’s (PT’s) work makes us particularly well placed to initiate a discussion about the level of Physical Activity (PA) with each of our patients.”

Exercise can help with chronic pain by:

  • Supporting healthy muscle development
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Supporting weight loss
  • Improving heart health

Ready to get moving?

If you have not been physically active in a while, starting small is the best place to start. Even 5 minutes can be a great starting point.

If you still are not sure where to start or if you have a nagging pain that is stopping you from starting, you can reach out to to speak with a clinician.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

5 Common Summer Injuries for Kids and How to Prevent Them

Article featured on MedStar Health

Along with all of the outdoor fun comes more opportunity for activity-related injury. In addition to nature-related injuries and illnesses, such as tick bites and sunburn, summer activities present more chances for broken bones, concussions, and other bumps and bruises. As sports medicine physicians, here are some of the most common summer injuries we see in warm weather months and how you can help prevent them at home.

Common summer injuries.

1. Bicycle injuries

Bike accidents are one of the most common summer injuries because the warmer weather presents more chances for you and your kids to ride together. But, a fall from a bike accident can be dangerous, resulting in cuts, scrapes, fractures, or concussions. If vehicles are involved, a bike crash could even be fatal.

Tips to prevent bicycle injuries: You can prevent severe head injuries from bike crashes by wearing a helmet. In fact, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute suggests that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head and brain injury by up to 88% for both adults and children. Other protective gear, such as knee and elbow pads, can also help to minimize injury from falls. And, a properly-fitted helmet and padding can reduce your risk of injury from skateboard and scooter accidents as well.

2. Playground injuries

More free time on summer vacation means more time spent visiting the local park or backyard playground. Unfortunately, monkey bars, slides, and swings commonly cause fall-related fractures and head injuries over the summer, even if the equipment is properly maintained.

Tips to prevent playground injuries: Playground falls are inevitable, but choosing a playground built over soft surfaces can minimize the risk of severe injury. Avoid playgrounds on concrete or gravel and instead look for playgrounds that hover soft surfaces, like rubber or wood chips. Active supervision is also important, as you may be able to help prevent a fall if you’re within arms reach.

3. Trampoline injuries

Concussions and fractures are also common in the summer months as a result of jumping on a trampoline. Bloody noses, bumps, and bruises may not be as serious but they’re also a concern.

Tips to prevent trampoline injuries: Many trampoline injuries involve a collision between two or more people, so one of the best ways to minimize the risk of injury is to only allow one person to use the trampoline at a time. It’s also a great idea to attach a net around the outside of the trampoline to minimize falls.

4. Water injuries and drowning

Swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean is great exercise but water-related injuries can be fatal. Drowning is the second most common cause of death by unintentional injury from kids between the ages of one and four, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, even good swimmers can get injured in and around water-related activities like diving, water sports, and boating.

Tips to prevent water injuries and drowning: Adult supervision is the most effective way to prevent drowning accidents, whether you’re at the pool or in open water. Stay within arms reach when your kids are in or around the pool. If the pool is not fenced in, be sure to cover it when it is not being used. If your family is on a boat participating in or watching water sports, make sure everyone wears a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, even if you’re a good swimmer.

5. Overuse injuries

While school sports may take a break from practices during the summer, travel teams or sports camps are in full swing. Overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or Osgood-Schlatter disease in the knee, can be painful and prevent your kids from fully participating in their sports. Shoulder and elbow overuse injuries are especially common in baseball players and pitchers because of the repetitive throwing motion.

Tips to prevent overuse injuries: One of the best ways to minimize overuse injuries in kids and teenagers is to encourage them to play more than one sport. Cross-training can help prevent common ligament injuries in the knee, shoulder, and elbow. Additionally, if your child has been sedentary, it’s important to help them gradually return to their sports by slowly increasing the frequency and duration of their participation.

When to see a doctor for a summer injury

If you suspect a head injury of any kind, call a medical professional to determine if they need additional care. It’s always better to seek care sooner rather than later.

If your child had an activity-related fall, you should seek medical care if they are:

  • Limping
  • Unable to put use full range of motion in an extremity (e.g. arm or leg)
  • Experiencing pain or tenderness when pressure is applied to a joint
  • Having headaches or drowsy, as these could be signs of a concussion

Have a safe, injury-free remainder of summer!


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

How to Improve Your Stamina

Article featured on Verywell fit

If you had to choose one—and only one—component of fitness to improve, what would you choose? You’re probably thinking you’d try to improve your strength, endurance, or speed, all of which are worthwhile goals to chase.

However, there’s one less-appreciated fitness factor that actually combines multiple components of fitness into one: stamina. If you want to most bang for your fitness buck, consider working to improve stamina.

What Is Stamina? 

Stamina is defined as “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort,” according to Oxford Dictionary. What this means in practical terms is that good stamina allows you to:

  • Run faster for longer distances
  • Lift heavier weights for more reps
  • Take longer, tougher hikes
  • Push through perceived pain, discomfort, and fatigue
  • Perform daily activities with high energy levels

The better your stamina, the more efficient you become at just about everything, mentally and physically.

Stamina vs. Endurance

People often use the words “stamina” and “endurance” interchangeably, and while the two terms are similar, they aren’t the same. Endurance is defined as “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way,” and there are two types of endurance related to fitness: cardiovascular and muscular.

Cardiovascular endurance refers to the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to support rhythmic exercise such as swimming, cycling, and running. Muscular endurance refers to the ability of your muscles to sustain repetitive movements under a given load, such as during weightlifting or hiking. Both types of endurance are important and both represent a component of stamina.

Stamina vs. Strength

“Strength” has lots of different definitions, but in regard to fitness, it essentially defines how much weight you can lift. People who are very strong can lift heavier weights and can also lift lighter weights for many reps. People with less strength can’t lift as much and may not be able to lift as many reps.

Strength training contributes to your stamina because it conditions your body to sustain movement under heavy loads.

Improving your strength even helps for endurance-focused exercises because the stronger your muscles, the better they can handle repetitive movements.

Stamina vs. Speed

Speed, as you probably know, refers to how fast or slow you move while walking, running, swimming, or performing other cardiovascular exercise. Genetics may influence speed more than they influence strength and endurance, although you can improve your speed with hard work just like you can improve any other part of your fitness.

Stamina mainly comprises endurance and strength, because the definition refers to your ability to sustain a given effort. The stronger you are, the more reps you’ll be able to lift with a given load. The better endurance you have, the longer you can sustain a given speed during a run. Stamina is less of a function of speed, but speed certainly still plays a role in your overall fitness.

How to Improve Your Stamina

The key concept here is to challenge yourself. If you’re trying to improve your stamina (or any aspect of your fitness) you’ll need to follow the “principle of progressive overload,” a physiological rule that explains how the body gets stronger, faster, and fitter.

To put it simply, the principle of progressive overload says that you won’t improve in any capacity if you keep doing the same workouts at the same intensity over and over again.

You must change something, be it frequency, intensity, volume, weight, distance, speed, or rest intervals.

For example, if you can barbell squat 10 reps at 100 pounds, you should next try to squat 12 reps at 100 pounds or 10 reps at 105 pounds. Small tweaks like this lead to significant improvements over time.

Here are 15 ways to change up your workout routine and induce improvements in your stamina. 

1. Go for Long Walks 

Here’s a simple way to improve your stamina: Simply move your body for long periods of time. Going for long walks of 30 to 60 minutes is a phenomenal way to build endurance, especially for beginners. Even advanced exercisers can enjoy the stamina-boosting effects of long-distance walking if they amp up the speed and intensity.

2. Add Running Intervals

If you don’t feel walking is enough to improve your stamina, try tossing in a few running intervals throughout your walk. Interval training is proven to be one of the best methods for improving overall fitness, at least in a time-efficient sense. Next time you head out for a walk, add a 30-second sprint every three or four minutes.

4. Increase Your Running Distance or Time

Go the distance for stamina. Since stamina is a combination of endurance, speed, and strength, challenge yourself to maintain your usual running pace for a minute longer. When you can do that, add another minute. Your stamina should continue to improve this way for a while, although everyone has limits on how far and fast they can run.

5. Run Hills and Stairs

If increasing your running distance or time doesn’t sound fun (we don’t blame you), vary the type of running instead.

If you live near hills or hiking trails, adding hill runs to your routine can make a huge difference in your stamina.

Alternatively, stairs and bleachers work, too. Running in an uphill manner challenges your lungs and legs alike.

6. Try High-Volume Weightlifting

Studies show that volume is the number-one variable in resistance training that improves fitness. Volume refers to the total load you lift in a given session, day, or week. It’s calculated by multiplying weight by reps.

For example, if you perform three sets of 10 squats at 100 pounds, find your total volume by multiplying three by 10 by 100. The total volume comes out to 3,000 pounds. In general, continually increasing your volume benefits your fitness.

7. Practice Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise refers to any exercise during which muscles fiber, but don’t extend or contract. Planks and wall-sits are two good examples of isometric exercises. Incorporating isometric work into your fitness routine can teach your muscles to sustain a position under stress for longer periods of time.

8. Decrease Rest Intervals During Workouts

One surefire way to improve your stamina is to allow yourself less rest time (unless you’re lifting very heavy weights, in which case you should rest three to five minutes between sets for optimal strength gains).

Studies show that decreasing rest intervals while performing moderate- to high-intensity exercise increases physical performance and body composition.

Shortening your rest interval forces you to perform more work in less time, which in theory should support improvements in stamina.

9. Try Cycling 

Riding a bike in any fashion—mountain biking, road biking, or indoor cycling—can improve your stamina if you push the pace (and the terrain if you’re outside).

Indoor cycling in particular is proven to increase aerobic capacity, a major contributor to stamina, as well as other health markers.

Mountain biking may be more effective at increasing muscular endurance and power due to the increased and variable resistance.

10. Swap Cycling for Rowing

If you’re already an avid cycler, you may want to add rowing to your workout rotation. Scientists have long hypothesized that rowing is a more effective workout than cycling because rowing recruits more muscle groups in a more intense fashion. Rowing seems to improve cardiovascular capacity more than cycling, so next time you have the opportunity to hop on an erg, go for it!

11. Have Dance Parties 

Dancing is a phenomenal mode of exercise that will leave your lungs and muscles burning—and it’s fun! Dancing may also require you to assume new positions and challenge your range of motion, which can improve your overall fitness.

Several scientific studies have shown dancing to have significant impacts on health and fitness, from better mobility and balance to improved cardiovascular endurance. Dance as exercise may also increase adherence for some people, because the cost and transportation barriers to entry are low.

12. Play Sports

Again, destructuring your fitness routine could, if counterintuitively, improve your stamina and fitness. Most sports require complex skill sets that may be outside of your comfort zone. If you’re used to lifting weights, running, or other relatively monotonous movements, swapping one workout each week for a sports game is a great way to hone other physical skills.

For instance, a game of soccer includes sprinting, jogging, walking, cutting, kicking, dodging, and even throwing, depending on the position you play. The intermingling of these different movements provides a fun and challenging way to improve your stamina.

13. Listen to Music While Exercising

Everyone knows a good song can pump you up for your workout. Listening to music brings people joy and energy, and this remains true during exercise. Listening to upbeat music during your workout might boost your performance in a number of ways, from reducing your perception of fatigue, distracting you from the strain of your workout, and making exercise feel easier.

14. Drink Caffeine Before Exercising

If you’re looking for a one-off way to improve your stamina, consuming a bit of caffeine before your workout might help. Studies show that caffeine acts as a great pre-workout supplement, because it can increase your energy, mood, and physical capacities, although the effect seems to be more significant in men than women, and you should be careful not to become reliant on caffeine.

15. Add Meditation to Your Fitness Routine

Remember how we mentioned that the word “stamina” refers to both physical and mental pursuits? This is where that tidbit of information comes in. Adding mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to your overall wellness routine might improve your mental stamina.

If you’re used to fast-paced, engaging workouts, mindfulness practices will challenge you to push through perceived boredom and handle stress, two factors that play a role in how long you’re able to exercise at a near-maximal level. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that medical students reported improved mental stamina (less stress and improved patience and wellbeing) after six weeks of yoga and meditation.

Don’t Forget to Rest and Recover

Finally, make sure you have recovery days scheduled into your workout routine. Contrary to popular belief, the actual act of exercising isn’t what improves your fitness—it’s the repair and rebuild phase that does. If you perform an intense workout every single day, your body never gets the chance to recover, thus it never has the opportunity to repair your muscles. Rest days are critical to your improvement over time.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

From Medical News Today

Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic syndrome that causes bodily pain and mental distress.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be confused with those of arthritis, or joint inflammation. However, unlike arthritis, it has not been found to cause joint or muscle inflammation and damage. It is seen as a rheumatic condition, in other words, one that causes soft tissue pain or myofascial pain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.

Fast facts on fibromyalgia:

Here are some key points about fibromyalgia. More detail is in the main article.

  • Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other types of discomfort.
  • Symptoms resemble those of arthritis, but fibromyalgia affects the soft tissue, not the joints.
  • The cause is unknown, but risk factors include traumatic injury, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetic factors.
  • There is no cure, but medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • widespread pain
  • jaw pain and stiffness
  • pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
  • stiff joints and muscles in the morning
  • headaches
  • irregular sleep patterns
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • painful menstrual periods
  • tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sensitivity to cold or heat
  • difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
  • fatigue

The following are also possible:

  • problems with vision
  • nausea
  • pelvic and urinary problems
  • weight gain
  • dizziness
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • skin problems
  • chest symptoms
  • depression and anxiety
  • breathing problems

Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years.

Treatment

Medical attention is needed because fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. As it is a syndrome, each patient will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be necessary.

Treatment may include some or all of the following:

  • an active exercise program
  • acupuncture
  • psychotherapy
  • behavior modification therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • massage
  • physical therapy
  • low-dose anti-depressants, although these are not a first-line treatment

People with fibromyalgia need to work with their doctor to come up with a treatment plan that provides the best results.

Medications

Medications may be recommended to treat certain symptoms.

These may include over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. However, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued a recommendation against using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat fibromyalgia in their updated 2016 guidelines.

Antidepressants may help reduce pain. Anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin also known as Neurontin, and pregabalin, or Lyrica, may be prescribed.

However, a review has suggested that patients often stop using these drugs because they are not effective in relieving pain or because of their adverse effects.

Patients should tell the doctor about any other medications they are taking to avoid side-effects and interactions with other drugs.

Exercise

A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training, or strength training, has been linked to a reduction in pain, tenderness, stiffness, and sleep disturbance, in some patients.

If exercise is helping with symptoms, it is important to maintain consistency in order to see progress. Working out with a partner or personal trainer may help to keep the exercise program active.

Acupuncture

Some patients have experienced improvements in their quality of life after starting acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia. The number of sessions required will depend on the symptoms and their severity.

One study found that 1 in 5 people with fibromyalgia use acupuncture within 2 years of diagnosis. The researchers concluded that it may improve pain and stiffness. However, they call for more studies.

Behavior modification therapy

Behavior modification therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to reduce negative, stress- or pain-increasing behaviors and improve positive, mindful behaviors. It includes learning new coping skills and relaxation exercises.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Creative Tips to Help You Stay Hydrated Throughout The Day

Your hydration levels can have a direct impact on your mood, your energy, and your stress levels. These tips will help you stay hydrated and focused, even on your busiest days.

Read more