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Integro Medical Clinics present the first in their new ‘Medical Case Book’ series

Living with and managing fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. Anyone can develop the condition, although it affects around 7 times as many women as men. It typically develops between the ages of 20 and 50 but can actually occur at any point in your life and can also affect children.

Published Cannabis Health on 27th November 2020

By Andrew Merni

It is estimated that 1 in 20 of the population may be affected by fibromyalgia to some degree. However, it is difficult to give an exact number as the condition is tricky to diagnose because there is no specific test for it, and the symptoms can feel similar to many other conditions. The potentially debilitating effects can include headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), brain fog, muscle stiffness, extreme fatigue, increased and acute sensitivity to pain and difficulty sleeping, amongst many others.

“This can be a very troublesome condition and we frequently see it presented in rheumatology clinics, because it produces tight, painful muscle spasms, which patients feel must be coming from their joints or bones.

“There is no conventional medicine to treat Fibromyalgia, although nerve pain medicines and anti-depressant medicines are often tried.  These sometimes do help, but often can add their own side effects to the patient’s difficulties.

“Cannabis medicines can offer a potentially effective treatment as they re-balance and regulate the human body’s natural endo-cannabinoid system. This system can become unbalanced, for example by long term stress, and sleep deprivation, and individual genes may make some people more prone to fibromyalgia than others.

“I am very interested in the relationship between impaired sleep and fibromyalgia. Stress and psychological trauma can lead to disturbed sleep physiology. Stress can prevent patients from reaching Stages 3 and 4 of deep sleep during which the body normally repairs itself. Over time this can lead to physical and mental fatigue, and changes in the body resulting in Fibromyalgia symptoms.”

Dr Anthony Ordman, Senior Clinical Adviser and Hon.
Medical Director Integro Clinics.

Traditional methods of treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), anti-depressants and pain killers may all be helpful. But an individually tailored cannabis treatment plan from a doctor specialising in cannabis medicines can result in a significant reduction of pain and an improvement in quality of life and allow other medicines to be carefully reduced or stopped.

“Fibromyalgia causes over-excitable pain signals in the brain and spinal cord, but through careful clinical observation we can provide a patient-centred personally–tailored cannabis treatment programme that can rebalance the body’s endocannabidiol system and change a patient’s life for the better.”

Sophie Hayes Specialist Cannabis Nurse at Integro Clinics.

Steven is a fibromyalgia sufferer, who was struck down in the prime of his busy life by this disabling condition.

“Fibromyalgia arrived during a very stressful period in my life, triggered by a car crash. Four months later I was admitted to hospital having difficulties with walking and pain in my back, hips and legs. I had already exhausted all other common pain killers because of the treatment I had received for FSH muscular dystrophy, that had started a year before.”

“I got my first medical Cannabis prescription in June 2019, and it was the best decision I’ve made to treat my illness. The consistent quality and supply of medical cannabis allowed me to get a constant level of relief that really showed Cannabis’s ability to rebalance a vulnerable body and mind.  With each month of use symptoms would reduce or completely go. “

“I finally reached a position where I was managing every aspect of the illness. I was still having symptoms, but they were far reduced, localised and manageable. It was like turning a forest fire that was destructive and damaging to everything around it, into a camp fire you could sit around. The fire is still hot and can burn but it does not get out of control. I feel protected on cannabis medicine, protected against triggers and best placed to deal with the continuous challenges this condition brings.”

When conventional treatments reach their limit, our work begins.

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