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May Is National Fibromyalgia Education And Awareness Month!

    Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world’s population. While fibromyalgia (FM) occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups, 75-90% of those that have this disorder are women.

    Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom of FM. Most that have this syndrome experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances and cognitive difficulties. They will also find they are sensitive to touch, light and sound. Many will also have a number of symptoms and conditions that overlap, such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and arthritis.

    For those with FM, one of the main factors in improving the symptoms is for them to recognize the need for lifestyle adaption and change. It is important to find a physician who is knowledgeable about the diagnoses and treatment of FM. Alternative treatments, such as nutrition, relaxation techniques and exercise can play a big role in FM management, as well. Patients should, with the input of their healthcare practitioner, establish a multifaceted and individualized approach that works for them.

    There is currently no cure for FM but better ways better ways to diagnose and treat the chronic pain disorder are being developed. Three medications for the treatment of FM have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since June of 2007. Others are currently in development. Research is expanding. In 1990, approximately 200 research papers were published. Today, we have more than 4,000 published reports.

    FM remains a challenging condition, however, with what we’ve learned in the last decade, patients can now experience a significant improvement in their quality of life.