Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Fibromyalgia is real

Published:Monday | December 2, 2019 | 12:14 AMRocheda Bartley - Lifestyle Writer

“They’re not mad, and even though you can’t see it, it is real.” This is a chant which pain management specialist Dr Pollyanna Chang repeatedly echoes to let people know that fibromyalgia exists. It’s a condition that’s associated with chronic pain lasting longer than three months, and is characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain.

Some say that the pain is all in the victim’s head and doesn’t actually exist. Chang is counteracting this. The expert told Flair that there’s no lab test that can confirm that one is suffering from the malady. And to make matters worse, despite affecting women on a large scale, Chang says it is underdiagnosed in men and overdiagnosed in women.

Fibromyalgia is accompanied with fibro fog (cognitive difficulties) impaired memory, sleep disturbances, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches. It can also coexist with arthritis and migraines.

“It’s an established illness. People with fibromyalgia are smart. They are not mentally ill and they have no problem in proficiency. But the disease robs some of them of their sharpness,” she said.

CAUSE AND TREATMENT

There’s no definite cause of fibromyalgia. And there’s no cure. Patients with the condition are usually referred to Dr Chang or other experts after conducting several medical tests, which came back normal in spite of constant complaints.

Chang explained that one out of every 30 patients who come in to her office for remedial purposes has fibromyalgia.

“The treatment for fibromyalgia is specific to the symptoms that you are experiencing. We call this functional pain relief and the aim is to help you to get back to normal. That way, you can go to work or play with your child,” Chang said.

Medications such as tramadol, as well as physiotherapy, hot and cold massages, aerobics, and other physical exercises and yoga are some other methods that are used to treat the symptoms of the disease.

Dr Chang recommends maintaining a healthy and balanced diet that’s characterised by macro and micronutrients, while being treated for fibromyalgia. She said that this helps with your nerves. Also, she stresses that you need to bear in mind that your spiritual and emotional well-being and community support are important in the fight against fibromyalgia.

Dr Pollyanna Chang can be contacted at painmanagementsolutionsja@gmail.com or 876-968-5775.

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com