A new website that brings together information about fibromyalgia, a community of experts and people living with fibromyalgia is the first comprehensive resource of reliable, up-to-date knowledge, research and data about the condition developed specifically for Canadians.
Fibrocentre.ca will give Canadians living with, or who suspect they have fibromyalgia, as well as their families and friends, a central place where they can gather information on the condition and treatment options, seek advice from experts on managing their pain, interact with others living with fibromyalgia or find ways to better describe their symptoms to their doctor.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic widespread pain condition affecting an estimated 1.2 million Canadians of all ages, cultures and both sexes. Most commonly described as widespread muscle pain that lasts longer than three months and makes everyday activities difficult, the condition actually has a broad range of complex and diverse symptoms. These include persistent soreness and flu-like aches, tender points, stiffness, sleep difficulties, tiredness and general fatigue.
"It can sometimes take a long time for a person to get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia because the symptoms often mimic other conditions," said Steven McNair, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. "Canadians living with fibromyalgia need access to a variety of tools and resources, tips and advice that will make researching and finding treatment options much easier."
"I'd say the most important first step in obtaining a diagnosis is that people living with fibromyalgia need to take the time to prepare before their doctors appointment so that they can talk to their doctor knowledgeably about their symptoms," added McNair.
Fibrocentre.ca features information on what is and who suffers from fibromyalgia, the symptoms and causes, and treatment options including complementary therapies. Resources include informative videos from patients and health care professionals, a list of doctors that accept new fibromyalgia patients, contact information for Canadian associations and the latest research on the causes and treatments for chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
There is also a way to raise funds in support of fibromyalgia patients. Visitors whose lives have been affected by fibromyalgia in some way, shape or form simply add themselves to a support map of Canada and Fibrocentre.ca will donate $5 to The Arthritis Society to help support awareness programs useful for those living with fibromyalgia. Then they can also let others know about the importance of supporting this cause using Twitter, Facebook or email.
It can take time and persistence to identify and diagnose fibromyalgia. Many doctors have little experience with fibromyalgia and so a patient may have to see GPs and many specialists before they are diagnosed. "Reaching a diagnosis is more likely to be successful if you educate yourself about fibromyalgia and what you can do to help to manage your symptoms," said Dr. Roger Shick, Physician Operations Leader of the St. Paul's Hospital Pain Center in Vancouver. "The more you know, the more involved you'll be in your treatment and the easier it will be to develop a treatment plan that works best for you."
Fibrocentre.ca has been developed by one of Canada's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies and was founded on the belief that it is essential to break the stigma attached to fibromyalgia and help increase awareness of the very real symptoms and impact of this condition on someone's life.
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