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Herbal Cannabis Use in Fibromyalgia

A study analyzing self-reports from patients with fibromyalgia who were referred to a ter­tiary care pain center indicate that 13% used cannabi­noids to manage their pain. Among these patients, 80% used marijuana, 24% used prescription cannabi­noids, and 3% used both. Users tended to be unem­ployed and receiving disability payments. Marijuana use was associated with: Unstable mental illness (36%). Male gender (26%). Opioid drug-seeking behavior (17%). Abstract: Arthritis Care & Research, June 21, 2012...
Reducing the Pain of Fibromyalgia

Reducing the Pain of Fibromyalgia

The chronic pain syndrome of fibromyalgia afflicts nearly 2% of women and a smaller proportion of men, and is both enigmatic and controversial. Many patients with fibromyalgia are misinformed and told that they are imagining or exaggerating their pain. Others with fibromyalgia learn that they have a medical disease that is chronic and unremitting—in other words, that they’re doomed to suffer from this pain syndrome for the rest of their lives. The unfortunate part of these messages is that they aren’t completely true. Research indicates that the pain and suffering associated with fibromyalgia are real, as illustrated by functional MRI studies and the fact that there are no significant pathological processes occurring at the peripheral sites of pain. Rather, there are overly sensitized central nervous system pathways that initiate and maintain pain, and most patients with fibromyalgia have associated syndromes such as headaches, fatigue, IBS, pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, and/or temporomandibular joint syndrome, suggesting the presence of an overarching central sensitization dysfunction. Linking Stress to Fibromyalgia There is substantial literature documenting the links between stressful life events, how patients manage strong negative emotions, and fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia are much more likely than controls to have had significant adverse events in childhood and adulthood. More than half of patients with fibromyalgia have PTSD or substantial PTSD symptoms. People with fibromyalgia are also more likely to suppress emotions and report an “inability to express” themselves. “There is substantial literature documenting the links between stressful life events, how patients manage strong negative emotions, and fibromyalgia.” My colleagues and I published a small randomized, controlled trial of a mind-body approach to fibromyalgia...
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