Managing patient expectations goes hand-in-hand with patient education.  It’s time consuming to find appropriate materials and many patients may have limited reading ability and vocabularies.  As an aid to medical practices, Solace Advancement produces content for clinicians to use with patients. The articles are therapy-condition specific and written at an 8th-grade reading level, helping to aid patient understanding and recall.  Solace believes that greater patient understanding correlates to greater compliance rates.  The intended result is greater efficacy and more successful treatment outcomes.  The following article is one in a series produced for our partners in medical practices. Remove this summary prior to sharing with patients.  

A New Kind of Treatment for Your Fibromyalgia

If you’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, you’ve been living with constant pain.  Fibromyalgia falls in a category of medical conditions called Chronic Pain Syndromes. Pain caused by conditions like yours needs to be treated differently than the more common kinds of pain.

Managing Your Fibromyalgia

Chronic pain of any kind is difficult to manage.  Pain is a symptom – it’s not the cause.  The cause of your condition may be unknown, but your doctor will try to help you manage the pain.  Tools a doctor would normally use for pain, such as pain medications, are not well suited for a chronic condition.  Painkillers become less effective over time and can damage your stomach or carry the risk of addiction.  Because of this, your doctor may recommend alternative therapies for Fibromyalgia.  

One therapy your doctor may recommend is called neurostimulation (knee-ro-stim-u-lay-shun).  With this kind of therapy, doctors use a small device to deliver low levels of electrical current to block pain signals.  The electrical pulses may also help your body generate natural pain fighting chemicals and increase blood flow.  

If you respond well to this treatment, you’ll avoid the side effects of typical pain medications.  Opioid medications can keep patients with Fibromyalgia in a stupor for most of the time they are awake. Use of medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen can damage your stomach, liver or kidneys over time.  And both kinds of medications become less effective over time.

What to Expect from Neurostimulation  

Your doctor may have suggested you try a special kind of neurostimulation system that targets the vagus nerve.  With this treatment, your doctor will affix some very small wires to a specific place on your ear where the vagus nerve can be easily reached.  The wires connect to a small device, which your doctor will tape to your shoulder.  The device emits very tiny electrical impulses over several days.  These impulses travel down the vagus nerve and can block pain signals before they reach your brain and cause you pain.  

Every few weeks you’ll need to visit your doctor to discuss your progress.  On some visits, your doctor will install a new device.  It is recommended that they switch the ear that the wires are connected to each time – it will help to prevent irritation in your ear.  
When successful, neurostimulation helps people with Fibromyalgia live with less pain and suffering.


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