Monday, October 30, 2006

Acupuncture cuts arthritis pain; will it work for fibromyalgia?

Post No. 5

Acupuncture eases pain and disability caused by arthritis, a study in Germany has indicated.

The German study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, compared the experience of 357 patients given immediate acupuncture with a further 355 whose treatment started three months later.

Benefits were measured on the WOMAC scale, a widely used scale of disease severity which measures pain, stiffness, and how well the joint works. At the start of treatment the patients’ scores on the scale were about 50. After 15 sessions in the first three months, the patients treated with acupuncture had scores of about 30, while the control group still waiting for treatment remained about 50.

Traditionally, German doctors have been far more enthusiastic about alternative treatments than their British counterparts. However, acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular in Britain and many physiotherapy departments in hospitals now offer the services of an acupuncturist.

More at The Times of London

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Man's best friend is here to help woman cope with illnesses

Post No. 4

Kathy McKeon is in constant pain from a several illnesses, including lifelong scoliosis of the spine, degenerative disc disease, nerve damage and fibromyalgia. She often must use a motorized wheelchair. Daily tasks as simple as getting out of bed or picking up items off the floor could launch her into paroxysms of pain. Rebel the dog could help her do those things, and many more.

More at Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fibromyalgia: mystery malady

Post No. 3

Fibromyalgia patient Mary Keyser had to consult 20 doctors before finding relief. Now, exercise is vital to her regimen.

More from the Dallas Morning News

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Help for Fibromyalgia

Post No. 2

Fibromyalgia affects one in nine people and leaves its victims in constant pain. It's difficult to diagnose, and there is no cure. But there is hope. An ingredient found in a common over-the-counter drug may ease patients' pain.

Pamela Kennedy sings every day to the little boy she thought she would never have. "With fibromyalgia, I have had pain for the last 15 years in all my joints," she says. "We were trying to have children, but I was never able to conceive."

Pamela adopted little Kenton. She lovingly takes care of him while living every minute with muscle aches and fatigue. "It's really hard, especially because he's not walking and he's heavy. I take pain pills all day." The pills help relieve nerve cells that are highly sensitive.

"These patients with minor activities experience significant pain," Roland Staud, M.D., a rheumatologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, tells Ivanhoe.

A new twist on an old drug may help. Dextromethorphan is an ingredient commonly found in cough syrup, but doctors found it also targets nerve cells.

Dr. Staud says, "The activity of these nerve cells is significantly decreased, resulting in less amplification of pain."

He says, however, the levels found in cough syrup are not strong enough. They studied a special dose that needs to be taken to feel a difference -- about four to five-times stronger than what you can buy over-the-counter.

"If they could find something where I could be lucid all day, be a good mom, that would be very good," Pamela says -- very good for Pamela and her son.

At high doses, dextromethorphan causes problems related to memory and confusion. The drug is still being studied and isn't available to the public yet.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

46 million U.S. adults afflicted

Post No. 1

Arthritis is on the rise in the U.S., with no signs of a slowdown. But you might be able to buck that trend, says the CDC.

First, the numbers. Picture a graph with a line headed upward, and you’ve got the basic idea.
More than 46 million U.S. adults -- over 21 percent -- say they’ve been told by a doctor that they have arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

About 8 percent of U.S. adults -- more than 17 million people -- say arthritis or joint symptoms hamper their activities.

That’s according to CDC statistics from national health surveys done from 2003 to 2005.
Those figures were lower in 2002.

Back then, nearly 43 million adults said they had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia; slightly less than 8 percent said arthritis or joint problems limited their activities.

By 2030, arthritis will affect 67 million U.S. adults, the CDC predicts.

Those statistics appear in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.