Finding a Home: Fibromyalgia Patients in Primary Care Settings
Fibromyalgia is a functional pain syndrome. In other words, the body amplifies ordinary sensations as pain. Since there is no known organic cause, researchers are unsure if Fibromyalgia is a singular disorder, or if it is a collection of similar diseases categorized under one umbrella.(2) As such, there is no real consensus in the medical community regarding diagnosis or treatment. Despite breakthroughs in identifying biomarkers and documenting impacts of the disease on the nervous system, there is no verified diagnostic test or medical intervention.(3) (4) Because of this, a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia comes with an unclear treatment path.
Without an understanding of the underlying cause of Fibromyalgia, without a definitive diagnostic guideline, and without replicated testing of the physiological impact it has on the body, the medical community struggles to find Fibromyalgia patients a home.(5) Instead, patients are sent to a variety of specialists to rule out other diseases and disorders that have more conclusive tests. This means that patients frequently see rheumatologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, general internists, osteopathic physicians, chronic pain clinics, as well as multiple visits with their PCP. Coupled with the lingering social stigma of the syndrome, many patients defer treatment efforts and they lack the support needed to cope with a chronic condition.(5)(6) All of this make Fibromyalgia patients in Primary Care Practices a challenge.