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MINDBODY MEDICINE – LIVING PROOF STORIES OF HOPE…

My Osteopath send me this brilliant video link on Mindbody Medicine – Living Proof Stories of Hope which has been put together by some patients to help to better educate the general public but in particular the medical profession about how these conditions often need a different approach.

He was sure that I would find it interesting.

I found it quite mind blowing and I just wished I had shared it during Pain Awareness Month in September. Check out Mindbody Medicine- Living Proof Stories of Hope after you have read some information about it below.

The introduction is from Charli, a 24-year-old biochemistry student from London, who shares her moving story of recovery from over two years of chronic pain.  She describes the science behind the ‘mindbody’ approach to calming her nervous system, and her hopes that medical practitioners will start to bring the vital link between emotions and physical symptoms more into their practice.

It is their first in an anticipated series of short films which will profile a range of different chronic conditions and medically unexplained symptoms, primarily to help the medical profession better understand this approach to health.

Their aim is to illustrate how so often the root of these conditions actually lies in the brain, and that once this is understood and accepted by the patient, a resolution can be found through working on our emotions and thought patterns. 

Their website supports GPs and other medical professionals in the UK in their treatment of patients with persistent chronic pain or other chronic symptoms, including ‘Medically Unexplained Symptoms’ (MUS). It aims to increase medical professionals’ understanding of the role of the brain and the mind in these chronic conditions, and to introduce a range of low cost, easy-to-access, scientifically-evidenced educational and treatment resources.

The NHS UK website itself recognises that ‘medically unexplained symptoms are common, accounting for up to 45% of all GP appointments and half of all new visits to hospital clinics in the UK’. Such patients can often be a great source of frustration for GPs as the real cause is not yet widely understood and effective treatments are not taught within mainstream medicine.

The mindbody approach is easily integrated into day-to-day practice with patients, with the goal being to alleviate chronic symptoms, rather than just helping the patient manage them. Practitioners who are already incorporating this approach report that including an inquiry into possible psychosocial causes of chronic pain and MUS at the start of the diagnostic process is usually well accepted by patients as part of a “whole person” approach to their care.

They recognise that there are already a lot of high quality resources out there for individual patients to learn from, particularly in relation to pain-based conditions, and see no point in reinventing the wheel. It is our hope that by helping to educate and inform the health practitioners who are seeing these patients on a daily basis we will over time leverage a broader impact. Their long-term aim is to reduce the number of NHS patient visits relating to chronic pain and MUS in the UK, in turn freeing up time for our medical professionals to focus on those with acute needs.

The information in this website has been checked for accuracy by their medical advisory teamcomprised of health professionals operating in the UK and in the US.  

I will write further about the mindbody experience in another post as I think you need to see the video first to understand the technique.

Source: Mind Body Medicine

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COVID-19 AND FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOMS…

Any Fibromyalgia sufferer can explain in seconds what the pain feels like. Living with fibromyalgia means coping with a number of symptoms: widespread muscle pain (myalgia), extreme tenderness in many areas of the body, sleep disturbances, fatigue, headaches, and mood issues like depression and anxiety. But how does having fibromyalgia impact your risk of COVID-19 and ability to manage these symptoms while staying at home?

Well, according to an article on Creaky Joints it depends on which type of fibromyalgia you have?

Yes, you read it right, which type of fibromyalgia do you suffer from? As far as I have ever known there has just been one type of fibromyalgia. But apparently there are two types of fibromyalgia, primary and secondary, says Petros Efithimiou, MD, FACR, a rheumatologist who practices in New York City.

Primary fibromyalgia, which is the most common form, is a chronic pain syndrome in which the body and brain process pain and stimuli differently, explains Dr. Efithimiou. Importantly: “There is no immunosuppression.” Basically, in primary fibromyalgia, the causes are not known,

Secondary fibromyalgia, on the other hand, often occurs in patients with conditions that can affect the immune system, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, surgery, or ankylosing spondylitis. In this case, your immune system may be suppressed and you could be considered at a higher risk for COVID-19, especially if you have additional co-occurring health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

Knowing the difference is important.

Individuals may believe that fibromyalgia is an immune system illness since they are regularly alluded to and treated by rheumatologists, and a portion of their side effects may mirror those of lupus or other rheumatology patients. Yet, fibromyalgia is certainly not an immune system sickness, which happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own cells and tissues.

Very Well Health points out that finding out if your fibromyalgia is primary or secondary tends to be frequently overlooked or glossed over. If you have been diagnosed with primary or secondary fibromyalgia this does not mean that you are more susceptible to catching Covid-19. However Web MD do point out that if you also have an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, this could put you at more risk which makes it all a bit confusing.

Recent articles just imply that if you do catch Covid-19 and you are also suffering from fibromyalgia you could quite possibly have a flare up of fibromyalgia. But, with so many fibro sufferers living with some similar symptoms to Covid-19 it is important says Very Well Health that “While there is considerable overlap, some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 aren’t associated with fibromyalgia, including:11

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose

Being on alert for those tell-tale signs can help you distinguish between your typical symptoms and coronavirus infection.”

A recent survey on Covid-19 and fibromyalgia written on the FMA UK found that indeed all participants reported feeling anxious about the pandemic. Most often, participants pointed to being worried about:

  1. The impact the pandemic will have on their personal relationships (friendships, romantic, family, or other)
  2. The possibility of a family member contracting COVID-19
  3. Financial hardships as a result of the pandemic

Interestingly, the same categories did not necessarily evoke the strongest feelings of anxiety. When rating anxiety on a 0 to 100 scale, where 0 is no anxiety and 100 is the strongest possible anxiety, participants pointed to the following as the most worrisome:

  1. Financial hardships as a result of the pandemic (average rating of 64)
  2. Access to medication during the pandemic (average rating of 64)
  3. Home loss or eviction as a result of the pandemic (average rating of 62)

Most importantly, the researchers found that an increase in COVID-19 anxiety was associated with an increase in reported pain levels. The authors emphasised, however, that this does not imply that COVID-19 anxiety caused fibromyalgia pain. The study demonstrates that mental health in fibromyalgia can be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But beyond being present, anxiety may be directly related to worsening pain. 

Source: Creaky Joints, Very Well Health, Web MD, and FMAUK