Fibromyalgia patient Debbie, shares how cannabis medicines helped her achieve a good night’s sleep, which in turn relieved her pain.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and can completely destroy the patient’s quality of life.
Cannabis medicines are increasingly being turned to for the treatment of Fibromyalgia pain when traditional medicines no longer offer relief.
“I am a fibromyalgia sufferer. When my husband died 15 years ago the overwhelming grief left me in a depressed and physically run-down state. I went into early menopause and was diagnosed with epilepsy,” says Debbie.
“This, in addition to my fibromyalgia, left me in a place where not only was I experiencing terrible physical pain but great stress and emotional upset as well. Taking cannabis medicines allowed me to resolve my sleep issues which in turn led me to a place where I could function much better and only take the absolute minimum of traditional pain relief medicines.”
Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around seven times as many women as men. It typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50 but can actually occur at any point in your life and can also affect children.
It is estimated that one 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 and the symptoms can be 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 disabling tight muscle spasms which patients feel must be coming from their joints or bones,” explains Dr Anthony Ordman, senior clinical adviser and hon. medical director at Integro Clinics.
“There is no conventional medicine to treat Fibromyalgia, 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 endocannabinoid system. This system can become disturbed by long term stress, and sleep deprivation, and individual genes may make some people more prone to fibromyalgia than others.”
Dr Ordman continues: “I am very interested in the relationship between impaired sleep and Fibromyalgia. Stress and psychological trauma can lead to highly disturbed sleep patterns. This can prevent patients 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 resulting in Fibromyalgia symptoms.”
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. Other medicines can be carefully reduced or stopped.
Sophie Hayes, specialist cannabis nurse at Integro Clinics adds: “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 endocannabinoid system and change a patient’s life for the better.”
The patient’s story
Debbie had always been an active member of her local community, despite being visually impaired since birth.
With the death of her husband 15 years ago, she found that the grief and depression this brought on exacerbated her fibromyalgia symptoms, leaving her feeling really low.
On top of this she received a new diagnosis for epilepsy, which she was having to cope with in addition to her pre-existing diabetes and osteoarthritis.
“I was feeling low and weepy and taking anti-depressant medication for my mental health. In addition, I was taking epilepsy medication and traditional pain medicines for my fibromyalgia symptoms,” Debbie says.
“What I found to be incredibly helpful to my situation was consistently taking medical cannabis. It transformed my life and allowed me to massively reduce the pain medication that I was taking and the horrible side effects that came with it.”
Debbie continues: “For me the massive change was being able to get a decent night’s sleep.
“Once you can sleep it allows you to recover and this in turn helps your mood and motivation. Cannabis medicines have allowed me to function on an absolute minimum of traditional pain medications.”
Dr Ordman adds: “Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommend remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition while using cannabis-based medicines. The Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them.”
If you would like further information or to speak to Dr Anthony Ordman please contact Integro Clinics:
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