Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.  -George Iles

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ask Dr. Gott

Fibromyalgia disorder affects quality of life

Dear Dr. Gott: I have suffered with fibromyalgia since 1997. There wasn't a symptom I didn't have — pain, chronic bowel problems, depression, headaches and a lack of sleep. I have overall pain. 

I can't believe the shortage of rheumatologists in my area. I need a doctor who at least has compassion and tries different remedies. 

Dear Reader: Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood, controversial disorder that can take over a person's life. Finding someone who understands your condition and can work with you toward improving your quality of life can be challenging. A large part of the problem facing any physician is that each symptom can be tied in with a host of other conditions. By the time all the bases have been covered, you've been to a number of physicians, spent a ton of money, and still don't know why you can't get through a single day pain-free. There is no laboratory or X-ray test to confirm or rule out the condition. 

I recommend you begin on the home front with self-care and over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. Ask your physician whether he or she can endorse a course of physical therapy. Practice deep-breathing exercises along with stretching and relaxation techniques. Join a community center for walking and water aerobics. If necessary, engage the services of a counselor for help in ways to deal mentally with your pain. Speak with your physician about the use of prescription medications that can provide relief. Don't be surprised if a tricyclic antidepressant 
or other unrelated medication is used. Several have been successful in controlling pain. 

Ask for referral to a rheumatologist who might have some cutting-edge ideas readily available. While you may have to travel, it might be well worth the effort. 
By PETER GOTT, M.D. Newspaper Enterprise Association
Published: 6/10/2009  2:18 AM
Last Modified: 6/10/2009  5:53 AM

1 comment:

Which of The Following Do You Have?

What other condition[s] do you have?

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