After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published its Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids 2016 in March 15, 2016, restricting access to opioid medications, the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), an organization that provides support, education, research and advocacy for patients of fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic pain, believes it is crucial to raise awareness and increase scientific research funding for multidisciplinary treatment approaches for pain. As such, the organization has started sponsoring ‘Together Walks’ during the month of May, across the United States.
It is estimated that between 2% and 4% (10 million) of the U.S. population suffers from FM – a disease in which patients suffer from long-term body-wide pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory problems and impaired functionality overall. Effective treatments are yet to be found and the majority of people with FM or chronic pain rely on opioid medications to manage their disease’s symptoms. In addition, “one hundred million American adults live with the disease of chronic pain, and many of them rely on a combination of therapies to function,” NFMCPA’s President, Jan Chambers, stated in a press release. “That combination treatment often includes strong pain medications.”
The NFMCPA is now calling upon everyone who has been touched by FM or chronic pain to participate. You can attend the ‘Virtual Together Walk’ or participate by creating a fundraising team in one of the following locations: Richmond, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Kissimmee or Coral Springs, Florida; and Louisville, Kentucky.
The NFMCPA has partnered with Leaders Against Pain (LAP), a program customized to support group leaders and advocates with a multi-faceted approach on media, advocacy and leadership training to organize, spread the word and carry out the details of every Together Walk. The events’ mission is to increase FM and chronic pain awareness, education, resources and support for research in the general public, medical communities, legislators and the broad FM community.
“How do you answer a 13-year old’s questions about his hopes for the future after being diagnosed with FM?” or “What happens in the homes of parents with FM who cannot participate in taking care of their family?” are some of the questions the Together Walks events intend to provide answers for.
Government research funding for chronic pain and FM treatments is limited and progressively decreasing, as reflected by the new legislation, including the release of the CDC Opioid Guidelines. The Together Walks will take steps toward finding new treatments and unite communities to raise awareness, advocate for better access to care and encourage research funding while celebrating Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on May 12th. This day recognizes the challenges that the FM community has overcome through time, to remember those lost to these diseases and to honor those who have fought or are still fighting FM and chronic pain.