Marijuana Rated Most Effective for Treating Fibromyalgia as originally reported on and survey conducted at The National Pain Report and The National Pain Foundation
I got floated to outpatient yesterday and had the pleasure of treating a fibromyalgia patient. Hadn’t seen much news on that front recently, so I went searching, simply because this patient was an interesting character. Usually in inpatient, fibro is just a comorbidity that complicates the patient’s recovery from something else, say a hip fracture or stroke. But in outpatient, that was this patient’s diagnosis. Although she did have other contributing factors, all the pain seemed to be stemming from the fibro in my opinion. And of course, there’s not really much anyone can do to “treat” the fibro directly; we just attack the symptoms… which is mostly pain… EVERYWHERE. (Modern medicine doesn’t yet understand exactly what causes fibromyalgia; therefore, there is no direct treatment, only managing the symptoms.) In physical therapy, we focus on managing the pain with soft tissue mobs, joint mobs as appropriate (Many of these people have soft tissue and joint restrictions, because they are self-restricting their movements because of the pain, which ends up causing the restrictions and creating even more pain.) and also education in finding the boundaries of comfortable exercise that is tolerable for the patient to maintain joint and soft tissue mobility and general health.
I found this survey very interesting. First of all, it had a HUGE response rate: it includes the response of 1,339 fibromyalgia patients. WOW. Second, I can’t believe that there are only 3 FDA approved drugs to combat this kind of pain, which can be very disabling. No wonder people are turning to medical marijuana if there are only 3 options that don’t seem to work either.
I’m not much for political hot topic arguments (and I will say any personal attacks in the comments are ALWAYS deleted and not tolerated), but with the survey above, I can’t sit back and say that medical marijuana should not be a legal option for these people. If 62% of people that have tried it say that it’s “very effective” versus 8-10% of the FDA approved drugs, I think that’s worth giving these people the option anyway. If that “very effective” could mean that those people could be contributing society members– taking on more familial and community roles/responsibilities– that’s worth it to society as a whole too. (Now, if they’re high out of their minds all the time and can’t contribute to society, then it would not be worth it.)
Here’s a map of the laws as they stand in 2015
I thought the other comments the fibro patients made were very indicative of the poor treatment these patients receive in general were eye opening:
“–Four out of ten (43%) fibromyalgia sufferers feel their physician is not knowledgeable about the disorder.
–Over a third (35%) feel their physician does not take their fibromyalgia seriously.
–45% feel their family and friends do not take their fibromyalgia seriously.
–Nearly half (49%) said their fibromyalgia symptoms began at a relatively young age (18-34).
–Only 11% were diagnosed with fibromyalgia within the first year of symptoms.
–44% said it took five or more years before they were diagnosed with fibromyalgia.”
I’ll be honest: I do think there’s a psychological component of this disease that does not get addressed enough– depression. Now, which came first: the depression or the fibro is a million dollar question. But I think some of us get so tangled up in addressing the physical symptoms, we forget to address the psychological issues too. Remember: there is not one medical professional that is a the Walmart, one-stop-shop of medicine. We need to all be on the look out for other bits that are contributing to what we are treating that may be best addressed by referring out to another fellow professional. Which is why networking and knowing all the professionals in your area.
Ok, I’m drifting off topic. Fibro… medical marijuana… yeah, I’m feeling that.