Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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‘People lack awareness about Fibromyalgia’

Sunita-Dave-intvAfter having accident and while recovering I am facing plenty of health problems. One day, while covering an assignment I was unable to bear the neck pain as my friend referred me to his doctor. I thought she will prescribe me some medicines or give injections, but she offered a treatment similar to spa. She diagnosed me, offered me some nice neck massage to free my muscles and then put me to various simple yet effective procedures. Within few minutes I was feeling better. My curiosity to know about Fibromyalgia increased as I asked her more about it. Very humble, ever smiling Dr Sunita Dave gave me lots of insight about Fibromyalgia. Many people associate the development of fibromyalgia with a physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic event. Some connect it to repetitive injuries. Others link it to an illness. For others, fibromyalgia seems to occur spontaneously.

These days, sedentary lifestyle is causing severe damage to the muscles as pain aggravates. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” originates from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but probably several factors are involved. Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. Also like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition, a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain. Vaidehi Sachin, Group Editor of Newsmakers had an interaction with Dr Sunita Dave, Physiotherapist who spoke about Fibromyalgia its symptoms and treatment.

How do you diagnose Fibromyalgia?

People come to me with lots of psychological and physical problems.  Ninety per cent of them are anxious and undergo depression. I ask them to consult a Psychiatrist, because many patients who are having psychological issues may overlap with medical disorders which may worsen, complicate, or pretext as physical symptoms. It is very important to have a thorough diagnosis and address their problems. Most of the patients undergo stress and their physical problems are related with their physiological disorders.

Don’t patients feel offended when you ask them consult a Psychiatrist? As its general myth that only a mentally unfit person visits them?

Yes many times, I need to counsel them and make them understand why they need this consultation. The problem is that, people suffering from fibromyalgia visit many doctors before consulting me. One reason for this may be that they are suffering from pain and fatigue. The main symptoms of fibromyalgia, overlap with other medical disorders. Therefore, doctors often have to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There is no generally accepted, objective test available for fibromyalgia. Some doctors sadly may conclude a patient’s pain is not genuine, or they may even express their helplessness.

Sunita-DaveWhat are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

Most commonly the Depression, anxiety, long working hours and bad posters can cause Fibromyalgia. However, in chronicle cases morning stiffness, headaches, irregular sleep patterns, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Painful menstrual periods (Dysmenorrhea), hands and feet tingle and can feel numb, Restless leg syndrome, sensitivity to cold or heat, Fibro fog (memory problems, cognitive problems) can be the prominent symptoms of it.

How is Fibromyalgia treated?

Treatment of Fibromyalgia often requires a team approach, with their doctor, a physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and most importantly, the patients themselves, all these factors play an active role. The most effective treatment approaches for fibromyalgia symptoms use a combination of medications, nondrug therapies and self-help strategies. Physical and body movement alternative therapies, alternative medicine with stress management and pain relief methods can be treated. You can also improve your quality of life by learning about your options, making changes and applying self-help strategies.

What is the meaning of Alternative Therapies?

Medications can have side effects, which may limit what one can handle or the dose one can tolerate. Nondrug therapies are used to complement to their medication. Consider trying hands-on approaches (massage), movement therapies (Tai Chi), trigger point treatments (stretching sore muscles with heat), and nutritional supplements such as magnesium with malic acid and various anti-oxidants to protect tissues. It depends upon person to person.

What are the common challenges you have to face while treating Fibromyalgia?

There is a lack of awareness among people about this disorder. Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, most of the time people assume it like just any other pain and start consuming painkillers for relief. If the problem is severe they think about having arthritis treatment, some even go for operating it through surgery.

What is the difference between arthritis and fibromyalgia?

People with fibromyalgia tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness. For some patients, pain recedes during the day and increases at night. Some of them have to undergo pain for the entire day. Pain may intensify with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress. Fatigue, depressed mood, and sleep problems are visible in almost all patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Many of them are unable to sleep properly and feel tired after waking up. Fibromyalgia is mainly pertaining to physiological disorders with physical issues and arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints in particular.

Do you want to convey any message to our readers?

Remain happy and healthy, don’t ignore pain and avoid stress.

Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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