Quick Help - Fibromyalgia Check List
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1) Firstly exclude other conditions that may mimic the symptoms of FM. Thyroid problems, lupus, coeliac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, TMJ, restless legs syndrome and myofascial pain syndrome. Mistaken Conditions
2) Obtain FM diagnosis from your GP.
Widespread pain index - Determined by counting the number of areas the patients has felt pain in the last week. The checklist includes 19 specified areas.
Symptom Severity Scale - Determined by a rating of 0-3, 3 being the most pervasive, of the severity of three common symptoms: fatigue, waking unrefreshed and cognitive symptoms. An additional 0-3 points can be given to account for the severity of other common symptoms such as nausea, irritable bowel, numbness, dizziness or depression. This gives a final score of 0-12 points.
Fibromyalgia diagnosis would require:
- 7 areas of pain and a severity score of 5 points
- or pain in 3-6 areas and a score of 9 or more
4) Non-Pharmacological Management
Individually tailored exercise programmes including aerobic exercise and strength training can be beneficial to some patients with fibromyalgia.
Cognitive behavioural therapy may be of benefit to some patients with fibromyalgia.
5) Complementary - Acupuncture, Homeopathy.
6) Nutritional - Anthocyadins, Capsaican gel, Vitamin D, Ginko Biloba (for brain fog).
Subscribe to The UK's Leading Fibromyalgia magazine
By ordering the Fibromyalgia Magazine: Support for the FM FaMily, you are also directly supporting all fibromyalgia support groups in Britain.
Join your local FM support group:
Sign up to an online forum:
Private Group Facebook Group
Visit our Shop for all your FM requirements:
Call Carers Direct on 0808 802 0202
Free, confidential information and advice for carers.
Lines are open 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm at weekends. Calls are free from UK landlines and mobiles.
8) We have a list of 'fibro friendly GPs on our website.
9) Manage your Doctor!
Hands On paper published by Arthritis Research UK and distributed to all UK NHS GPs under age 65.Armed with this on your next visit to your Doctor you can point out he/she has the same documentation and what he or she suggests:
It's NOT "all in your head"
If your doctor tells you this quote from the 2008, 1,319 page, 4th edition of RAJ'S PRACTICAL MANAGEMENT OF PAIN, devoting a fifteen page section on FM. From the first two paragraphs in the subsection, Pathogenesis, we find, "The cause of FM is still unknown. Theories regarding its cause have undergone a gradual transition from a psychiatric process, as some still view it, to a muscle disorder, as currently classified in the Medline Index, to a genetically determined central nervous system disorder of chronic widespread allodynia, neuro-endocrine function, and cytokine participation, as it should now be considered. The situation with FMS has changed dramatically in just a few years of concentrated research. Where FMS patients were often viewed as healthy complainers, without any real abnormalities, or considered to be depressed somatizers, the psychiatric model is no longer adequate. Abnormalities in neuro-chemical mediators of central nervous system nociceptive function are clearly present in ways consistent with the patterns of symptoms."
Interesting article in trade magazine for GPs on managing fibromyalgia. It may also be useful tool to use to discuss your illness with your GP.
http://www.ukfibromyalgia.com/downloads/Basics-of-Managing-FM.pdf (may take time to load)
Neurobiology Underlying Fibromyalgia Symptoms (August 2011)
"Nevertheless, we can at least say that fibromyalgia is real and that it is associated with multiple changes in the brain."
8) Benefits Support
These organisations offer advice or case work in welfare benefits:
Other places that may be able to help:
We write a regular monthly article in the Fibromyalgia magazine.
Specialised Benefits Support
Donations received are used by UK Fibromyalgia to maintain the services that we provide to UK based fibromyalgia sufferers. This can take many forms including grants to FM support groups in Britain.
To gain the tax benefits of gifting to a charity then you can check this page for a list of UK charities that specialise in fibromyalgia - FM Resources
To find out what each charity has been doing with donations in terms of spending it on research or awareness by searching http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/
Here you can find out their aims and objectives and look at submitted accounts.
What to do next
So what's to be done? How do you pick your way through this mine of information?
How do make sure you are doing what's right for you?
Knowing the following facts will help you feel in control of what happens to you.
Fibromyalgia is not a life-ending condition, although its symptoms are life-changing.
Although it is a chronic condition, Fibromyalgia can be managed successfully.
This management requires your total active involvement in the process, but nobody can tell you how long the improvement in managing your symptoms will take, so time limits and predictions are unrealistic and unhelpful.
As everyone reacts differently to medication, it is important to investigate all options and feel equal in discussions with your GP on moving forward or trying medication and/or therapies. You need to work together to sort out your health issues.
Believing that 'someone else knows what's best for you' may lead to disappointment and frustration, as well as a sense of disempowerment. You know what's right for you.
You have choices at every turn, and it's never too late to change or to move forward in a different way than previously.
Many people live and work successfully while managing Fibromyalgia using statutory support and employment law to good effect.
Letting go of non-essential work, and unnecessary pressure of any kind can be helpful, but your circumstances are particular to you, and your life is your own, so the decisions are yours.