A new book about fibromyalgia, written by Mayo Clinic healthcare professionals, aims to dispel myths associated with the disorder, and offer practical strategies to manage the symptoms.
The “Mayo Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia: Strategies to Take Back Your Life” was written by rheumatologist Andy Abril, MD, along with psychologist Barbara Bruce, PhD, both at the clinic’s Florida location.
Fibromyalgia, a frequently misunderstood disorder, is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and memory and mood issues.
“Every day, we see patients who are hurting, who aren’t sleeping well and are exhausted, and who have trouble concentrating,” said Abril in a news release. “By the time they get to us, many of these people have been told that their symptoms are related to stress or depression. Others have been told that they are wasting their doctor’s time.”
Researchers largely believe that fibromyalga amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals. Many patients experience tension headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression.
Symptoms are sometimes caused by physical trauma, surgical procedures, infections, or marked psychological stress. In other cases, they gradually progress with no single triggering event. While fibromyalgia has no cure, some therapies can help manage the symptoms, including exercise and other stress-reduction measures.
The 272-page paperback, published by the Mayo Clinic Press, offers narratives of patients who have lived with the disorder and discovered ways to manage symptoms and get relief. It also features research-based comprehensive therapeutic options to alleviate pain and other symptoms.
“Many patients are struggling to get through their daily activities because of their symptoms,” said Bruce. “They don’t know what’s wrong with them or how to make it better. They just want their lives back. Fibromyalgia doesn’t have to define a person’s life, and we can offer help and hope.”
The publication is available online and in stores. Proceeds will benefit the Mayo Clinic’s educational and research efforts.
About 10 million U.S. residents and 3% to 6% of the world’s population have fibromyalgia, states the National Fibromyalgia Association. Affecting mostly women, the disorder is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but the incidence rises with age. By age 80, about 8% of adults have fibromyalgia, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
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