Multi-disciplinary approach to fibromyalgia treatment
Over 10 Million Women Affected with Fibromyalgia in the USA
Is this a Fact or is it "All in the Head?"
With over 10 million women affected with Fibromyalgia Syndrome in the prime
of their life many suffer and struggle from FMS for years before being correctly
diagnosed. This debilitating disease affects women and men in an approximate
ratio of 20:1. The problem begins between 20 – 30 years of age and symptoms
usually appear between 20 - 55 years of age. Because there are no laboratory
or x-ray examinations to physically prove the presence of this disease many
are convinced by their doctors that it is "all in their heads" making
the symptoms of this condition even worse. However, today "Fibromyalgia
is now recognized as one of many 'central' pain syndromes that are common in
the general population." *1
What is Fibromyalgia ?
The characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome include widespread pain,
fatigue, sleep disorders, depression and distress. To fulfill the criteria
of having a Fibromyalgia Syndrome diagnosis, sufferers must have widespread
pain present in at least 11 out of 18 fibromyalgia
tender points (well-defined
body areas) for at least 3 months.
Fibromyalgia Treatment Options
The cause of fibromyalgia
syndrome still remains uncertain and very few sufferers
completely recover from the symptoms of FMS. Hence, a wide variety of interventions
are used in the management of Fibromyalgia today with "no clear consensus
on the treatment of choice… many individuals afflicted by FM frequently
use alternative therapies, indicating dissatisfaction or ineffectiveness
with traditional medical therapy."*2
alternative therapies are generally perceived to be more "natural" and, as
a result, have fewer adverse effects.
Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Treatment
In a study of 29 patients, all reported reduced pain and tender spots with
acupuncture. The acupuncture group, after treatment, required far more pressure
on tender points to produce pain while the use of pain killing medication
was virtually halved, as was the patients' assessment of regional pain
levels. There was also a significant increase in quality of sleep. The length
of time morning stiffness was experienced only improved a small amount. The
fact that there are virtually no side effects from electroacupuncture make
it attractive when compared with pain killing and/or antidepressant medication.
Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, Dr. Martin, has found acupuncture relieves fibromyalgia
symptoms. He stated,
" Our study was performed on patients with moderate
to severe fibromyalgia. It is my speculation that if acupuncture works for
these patients with recalcitrant fibromyalgia -- where previous treatments
had not provided satisfactory relief -- it would likely work for many of the
millions of fibromyalgia patients."
" Acupuncture could fill a gap
in available therapies for the disease as something additive to what medications
already can provide," said Dr. Martin.
" There is no cure
available, so patients are often left somewhat frustrated by continuing pain
and fatigue," he
" Acupuncture is one of the few things shown to be effective for
these symptoms. It may be particularly attractive to patients who are unable
to take medications because of intolerable side effects." *4
What You can Do to take Charge of your Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Multidisciplinary approaches work best in the management of the physical
and mental aspects of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Treatment should be individualized
based on the target symptoms, and disability. Patience and a positive attitude
on the part of the physician, along with involvement of patients and their
families will enhance improvement. Using a combination of fibromyalgia
care and exercise techniques, alternative and integrative therapies, exercise,
a healthy diet and nutritional supplements will take you on the road to
recovery. You are not alone in your search to combat Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
dialogue with your doctor or health care professional to discuss various
options and strategies to overcome your fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Therapy Insight: Fibromyalgia--Different Type of Pain Needing A Different
Type of Treatment. Posted 07/12/2006 Daniel J Clauw Nature Clinical Practice
- Physical Therapy Modalities in Management of Fibromyalgia Author: Gur,
Ali, Current Pharmaceutical Design Volume 12, Number 1, January 2006, pp.
- Rheumatol Int, 1998; 18: 35-6.
- David P. Martin, et al "Improvement in Fibromyalgia Symptoms With
Acupuncture: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial" Mayo Clinic Proceedings
With Thanks to contributing author:
Ms. Leela Fraser is a contributing writer
for The Fibromyalgia Treatment Center (BFP) a patient-owned company with
with health, fitness, and nutritional professionals as consultants. She
can be reached at: www.back-fibromyalgia-pain.com