FMS Treatment - continuation
Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Several papers have shown that the affective-cognitive behavioural therapy might be beneficial. An individually administered affective-cognitive behavioural treatment resulted in sustained improvement in pain and related symptomatology in a sample of patients with FMS who had been referred for treatment by their rheumatologists.

Accompanied conditions:

Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by "fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia" (Worrel, 2001). In addition, the more debilitating examples of fibromyalgia are frequently found in individuals with a history of depression. According to Worrel, "Elevation of cerebrospinal fluid substance P levels (a neurotransmitter associated with enhanced pain perception) is found in a significant number of fibromyalgia cases." Other disorders, such as hypothyroidism and myofascial pain syndrome, can mimic fibromyalgia. Fortunately, hypothyroidism can be ruled out by a simple test.

Chronic Pain Management

Many management techniques are used to treat fibromyalgia. Treatments are often combined in a comprehensive treatment package to obtain the most relief for an individual patient. Some types of pain can be treated by "purely psychological means such as relaxation training or imagery exercise" (Fleming, et al, 1997). Guided imagery is used to help the patient relax, which facilitates healing. This technique is used in hundreds of hospitals around the country to treat various medical conditions. It is also commonly employed in psychotherapy settings, pain clinics and it is available on self-help tapes and CDs.

Anxiety and stress have a negative impact on fibromyalgia patients. Millea (2001) suggests that pain flare-ups can increase the patient's stress load; conversely, environmental stress can initiate a pain flare-up. Relaxation guided imagery is a powerful tool when employed to soothe patients and minimize their response to stress. Health care providers need to hear their patients' stories about the challenges of living each day with a chronic pain disorder. Feeling heard and understood by their physician or therapist is an essential condition of an effective treatment. A chronic disorder necessitates a partnership in which the medical professional works with the patient to choose the most beneficial treatments. According to research this may include some non-pharmacological treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques and massage. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the treatments demonstrating the most promise for "patients with chronic fatigue were graded exercise and cognitive therapy" (Whiting 2001).

FMS Support Groups

Libraries, hospitals, your doctor’s office, the Internet, and your local newspaper are all places to search for a support group. Members of groups can offer encouragement, an understanding ear, friendly advice, and education. At meetings, fibromyalgia patients can share their experiences without fear of being judged or criticized. Group leaders offer patients and families an opportunity to discuss common concerns, share successes, and benefit from the experiences of others. Patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other chronic pain conditions often say they feel isolated or alone with their illness. Being a member of a group or simply contacting a group leader can help patients reduce these feelings of isolation.

Spouses or other family members are often welcome to attend these gatherings to help understand how they, too, can provide a beneficial support foundation at home.

Local support groups offer their own individual format. In addition to friendly gatherings, groups may host speakers to discuss the latest in therapies and treatments, or offer a professional’s point of view in managing life-altering chronic illnesses.

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