Saturday, October 4, 2014

Costs Associated with Fibromyalgia: What’s Up with That? by Celeste Cooper

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; 
now that I am old I know that it is."
~Oscar Wilde

How one answers the question, "What are the Costs Associated to FM?" depends on who you ask. Treating fibromyalgia is a costly business because often times it takes years for the right diagnosis. Patients will return for medical care until they get the answers they need. Why does it take so long to be diagnosed? Many care providers are unaware of other conditions that co-occur more frequently with fibromyalgia, and therefore, those conditions go unnoticed and untreated and the patient experiences unnecessary pain and fatigue from a wound up brain trying to process many messages at once.

Side Note: We need consistent diagnostic criteria such as that I reported on in my blog, The 2013 Alternative Criteria Dr. Robert Bennett, et al. – Interpretation for patients and providers by Celeste Cooper, here. Also shared on ProHealth here.

Ask the patient about the cost of having fibromyalgia. Most of the therapies found to be helpful, warm water therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, myofascial release, massage therapy, therapeutic trigger point massage therapy (for comorbid myofascial pain syndrome), T'ai Chi, Yoga, and other complimentary and alternative therapies are not covered by insurance, and if they are, they are capped. This means that most of the treatments suggested will never happen unless the patient has an endless supply of money.

Take a look at the latest Pain Action Alliance to Implementa National Strategy  policy brief NEVER ONLY OPIOIDS: The Imperative for Early Integration of Non-pharmacological Approaches and Practitioners in the Treatment of Patients with Pain accessible from my website here

We know that fibromyalgia patients need ongoing care, particularly since we have other painful comorbid conditions. The alternative diagnostic criteria by Bennett, et al, are comprehensive and can easily guide the diagnostician to the right conclusion (see side note above). If we can get integrative therapies moved to mainstream medicine, the overall cost to everyone will go down and the patient will have a better outcome.

You can also find my answer here  to What are the monetary costs associated with fibromyalgia? Don’t miss the hundreds of other questions answered by Celeste and others on here.

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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN

All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

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