Canadian researchers have released the first set of guidelines to help doctors diagnose and manage Fibromyalgia.
The evidence-based guidelines are the first national set in the English-speaking western world, said Dr John Pereira, a co-author of the guidelines from the University of Calgary’s faculty of medicine and a physician at the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre.
“For many years health-care professionals dismissed fibromyalgia as a non-existent condition. And more recently, while people have accepted that perhaps it does exist, still patients were told there was nothing that could be done for them,” Pereira said.
“In these guidelines we have clearly listed how to diagnose this condition and how to treat it effectively. So while there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, there are now good treatments that patients can consider.”
Because of the prevalence of the condition, the guidelines recommend that primary care physicians take over the diagnosis and management role that has often been left to specialists.
The guidelines suggest a multi-modal treatment such as exercise, cognitive-behavioural therapy, education, self-management and relaxation techniques as well as medications that target a patient’s most bothersome symptoms: pain being the most serious.
The goal of treatment is to improve symptoms and “optimize function,” according to the guidelines. There is no one ideal treatment, although the guidelines say management should be tailored to each patient’s symptoms.
“Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but the guidelines set out the most appropriate management strategy,” said rheumatologist Dr Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, a corresponding author from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.
So, wherever you are in the world, perhaps this is something you can show your doctor/s to help establish your treatment plan.