When children have fibromyalgia, it hurts. It really hurts. And from what research on this topic suggests, the pain continues for years, sometimes lasting into adulthood. Traditional thinking would suggest that there must be some kind of medication to help these kids get their life back. But in reality, that's not the case!
Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (known affectionately as CHOP) have come to realize a different approach to this problem. Their treatment protocol consists of a combination of physical and occupational therapy. They also discontinue all pain and sleeping medications that the patient may have been prescribed prior to coming to CHOP.
The researchers followed 64 children in this program. All of the subjects suffered from fibromyalgia for about 2 years prior to beginning treatment at CHOP. At the start of the study, the average pain rating for the group was 7.1 on the 1 to 10 scale. A few weeks into the program, the average pain score was reduced to 2.5 on average. One year later, the score was further reduced to an average of 2.0. Some of the children reported scores of 1 or no pain whatsoever! In addition, these subjects were found to have improved exercise endurance as the study went on.
What's the recipe for success, you ask? The CHOP study used an intensive physical and occupational therapy program including intensive aerobic exercise and desensitization to light touch for five to six hours per day over several weeks to achieve this goal. The authors say that fibromyalgia is very treatable in childhood. It's actually possible to get these children back to a healthy productive life, with success in school and ability to perform well in school.... all without the use of medication!
Sources: Medscape; Pixabay