The disease burden on Fibromyalgia patients is worse than it is for chronic pain patients without fibromyalgia.
fibroAn online study of 472 U.S. patients released in the May 16 online issue of Pain Practice showed that Fibro patients – quite simply – have it tougher.
They take more pain medication and have poorer health status, get less sleep and have lower productivity in addition to being more expensive to treat.
They looked at three groups in the research: fibromyalgia patients, chronic pain patients who don’t have fibromyalgia and a group that does not suffer from chronic pain.
Caroline Schaefer, M.B.A., from Covance Market Access Services in Gaithersburg, Md., and colleagues conducted the survey which was funded by Pfizer, which makes and markets Lyrica to combat fibromyalgia.
An estimated five million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, which is the most common muscoskeltal condition after osteoarthritis. It’s characterized by muscle and joint pain and fatigue, as well as other symptoms.  Women are much more likely to have the disease than our men.
In another study released earlier in May, it was reported that exercise may prove to be an effective treatment because it activates brain centers associated with pain modulation in patients with fibromyalgia.
“Acute exercise did result in a somewhat temporary improvement in centrally mediated pain modulation, and importantly this was without exacerbating pain symptoms,” said Laura Ellingson, PhD, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, Ames.
Dr. Ellingson presented the finding at the American Pain Society (APS) 34th Annual Scientific Meeting in Palm Springs earlier in May.
The National Pain Report, in observance of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on May 12, featured three fibromyalgia sufferers – all women – who shared their stories about how they fight the disease.
Darbi Beals Stolk is a former registered nurse who lives in Texas. She has suffered from fibromyalgia for at least twenty years. She now coaches people, many of whom have the disease and she shared some tips for how she and other cope.
Jenny Schwarz lives in East Helena, Montana. She attacks her fibromyalgia with a brush – a paint brush. She literally tries to – as she told us – paint her pain away.
Anna Flynn is a retired schoolteacher living near Houston. Her suffering has been eased by two man’s – or in her case woman’s – best friends: Her two dogs.
The National Pain Report also featured stories on a new drug in development for restorative sleep in fibromyalgia patients and on a study from the University of Michigan that finds Fibromyalgia is a lifelong central nervous disorder.

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