May 18, 2014
Recently I had a young lady from Devon consult me online about some severe pains that she had been experiencing over the previous 3 years. In brief her symptoms were:
• Severe pains in all her limbs and joints and muscles.
• General fatigue and malaise.
• Night sweets and raised temperature.
• A particularly sensitive spot in the centre of her spine that felt hot and tender to touch.
To many doctors these symptoms may appear vague and non-specific. It could be anything they will say. It may be depression or Menopause – anything. I would have had similar initial thoughts as well, that is until I read of her last symptom – a particularly sensitive or tender area on her body. Finding such a spot is the key to diagnosing this strange condition.
My online patient from Devon had done the rounds of doctors. Not one of them could offer her any explanation or diagnosis. And of course she was offered no treatment. She was at her wits end poor woman.
People presenting with the symptoms of Fibromyalgia may have to battle against medical prejudges they may not be aware of. These, in the main, arise from two misguided mind sets:
• The first of these is that with Fibromyalgia there is nothing to measure or to see and doctors love to measure and see. With Fibromyalgia there is no specific blood test, no x-ray or scan that proves the diagnosis. Diagnosis is made only by listening carefully to the patient, having an awareness of the condition in the first place and the fining of a tender spot or spots within muscle masses.
• Here is the second problem that the sufferer of this horrible disease may also have to face. Doctors do not like the underlying concept of Fibromyalgia. For it is not pain as such that the patient feels but this is how her brain interprets it. Thus we get the confused notion that it’s all in her head! It is no such thing. To the sufferer the pain is absolutely real. It is how her brain is reacting to it is the problem. Fibromyalgia may be a disorder of brain chemistry rather than primarily one of joints or muscles.
The real tragedy here is that as long as there is resistance to Fibromyalgia within the medical community then diagnosis will be delayed and people will be forced to suffer needlessly. This is terrible because the disease is eminently manageable with proper medication, at least to the point to where the patient is comfortable, can sleep and get on with their lives.
If you think that you may suffer from this condition then go to your doctor and insist that you be taken seriously. And if your doctor won't do that, then find one who will.