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Q:

Rasa from Edmonton asks:  I have fibromyalgia, but I am having a difficult time getting in to see a rheumatologist.  Isn’t fibromyalgia treated by rheumatologists?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that presents with diffuse muscle and joint pain, poor sleep, and fatigue. Some patients also describe stomach ailments and have history of headaches. The symptoms may often be vague, but can be debilitating to patients with it.  Rheumatologists often see patients with fibromyalgia before a clear diagnosis has been made.  For some people, it is important to rule out other possibilities, including conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and other autoimmune inflammatory diseases which require a different treatment approach.

If a diagnosis of fibromyalgia has been established, there is no specific expertise a rheumatologist has compared to other physicians, including family physicians.  The first steps in managing fibromyalgia include a slow progressive increase in exercise, working on sleep hygiene, and learning more about fibromyalgia.  Please visit our webpage on fibromyalgia to learn more the condition and resources available in the Edmonton area.

Q:

Daniel from Edmonton asks: My friend has psoriatic arthritis. He is in a lot of pain and is getting treatment to help deal with his condition. One thing he would like to do is start a fitness routine to help. I’m looking for advice on how to help plan and work in a fitness routine that could account for his joint pain.

Great question!  We encourage our patients with inflammatory arthritis to stay active despite having arthritis.  We know that maintaining activity and muscle strength is a positive, and can be an important component of treatment and well being.  Further, activity itself should not make the arthritis worse.  That said, every individual is different and we need to ensure an appropriate balance between remaining active and not causing pain.  Physical therapists with expertise in inflammatory arthritis are often involved in consulting and developing activity plans.  Your rheumatologist should be able to recommend an appropriate physical therapist to you.



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