Each year, the American Pain Society sponsors a scientific meeting. It is the place where researchers in pain management and health care practitioners converge to share "the latest" in their respective areas of expertise. This year's meeting included a session on fibromyalgia which was presented by Daniel Clauw, MD who is a professor of anesthesiology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
During his presentation, Dr. Clauw made some very interesting points about this poorly understood disorder. It is the second most common rheumatic disorder after osteoarthritis--and tends to stay with a patient for a lifetime. Patients with fibromyalgia experience higher levels of pain than other individuals, even at the slightest touch. It is believed that a mechanism in the brain and spinal cord that seems to be responsible for this exaggerated pain sensation. Dr. Clauw suggested to his fellow physicians that fibromyalgia should be suspected in patients with lifelong histories of pain that is multifocal and cannot be explained by injury or inflammation.
Dr. Clauw went on to say that, while many drugs have been used in the treatment of this condition, none of them seem to be really effective. It appears that the best approach is combination of some antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs, combined with exercise, psychotherapy, and stress reduction. "The greatest benefit is improved function, which should be the main treatment goal for any chronic pain condition. The majority of patients with fibromyalgia can see improvement in their symptoms and lead normal lives with the right medications and extensive use of non-drug therapies" he says.
Sources: Pain Medicine News; Pixabay