It's estimated that six to eight million people in the United States suffer from debilitating pain associated with fibromyalgia. It has also been shown that the more patients understand their pain, the more they're able to exercise, reduce their pain and maintain hope. They have less fear, better attitudes about pain, move more easily, and have the ability to work despite slight discomfort.
Your Fibromyalgia Workbook: A Neuroscience Approach to the Understanding and Treatment of Fibromyalgia, written by Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, M. App. Sc, was designed to help people understand the pain associated with fibromyalgia. It's an excellent tool for both the patient suffering with pain as well as the healthcare provider. The information contained in this book has been proven to help patients understand pain and the strategies that help manage discomfort.
This 114-page, softcover book is intended to be a guide for both healthcare provider and patient. It's made up of hundreds of pain studies and clinical experiences. The author divided it into eight neuroscience topics. Each topic ends with session-specific tasks and an area to write questions to ask your healthcare provider. There are sections that require reflection, discussion and application of the information to the life of the reader. It includes more than 30 artist images to assist in explaining the patient's pain and enhancing the learning experience.
The book ends with a quiz to ensure the important points of the book are well understood. As the title suggests, it's a workbook designed to be an active learning experience. Readers are required to think and deal with the issues facing them. This leads to a deeper understanding of their pain and management of fibromyalgia.
It's recommended that patients work through this book with the guidance of their healthcare provider. The book cites references that conclude the current best evidence calls for education targeting a change in cognition. A recent systematic review recommends that therapeutic neuroscience education be delivered in a one-on-one educational format with a therapist using pictures, metaphors, examples and a workbook with tasks related to the learning experience. This book contains all of these components, and would be a great resource for any clinician who routinely works with this population.
One of my favorite features of this text is the easy-to-understand language and set-up. The chapters are short and on point. You aren't overwhelmed with too much information all at once. The terminology is aimed at people who don't have a medical background, making it easy to understand, and meaningful to those affected by fibromyalgia. I also like that the time commitment for each section is minimal, requiring only about 15-20 minutes to complete. It can be used by a patient alone, or as part of the treatment in therapy.
This book couples well with the text Why Do I Hurt? A Patient Book About the Neuroscience of Pain by Adriaan Louw. It's a 50-page, spiral-bound, patient-targeted guide that was written to educate readers about how the nervous system and brain process information and contribute to the pain experience. The book is divided into seven sections that educate the reader on how the nervous system works, how the brain processes information and contributes to the pain experience, and how to take back your life. It contains various metaphors, examples and dozens of full-color images to enhance the learning experience. It's appropriate for patients with fibromyalgia as well as anyone suffering from chronic pain.
Similar to Your Fibromyalgia Workbook, this book is easy to read and targeted to individuals who don't have a medical background. Its easy-to-understand terminology will be welcomed by most patients, who want to understand their pain without having to sift though pages and pages of medical information. This book does a great job of taking information from 43 scientific articles and providing a summary to the reader. It then uses that information to give specific strategies for pain management.
Most therapists would agree that patient education is an important part of any program.
For this purpose, both books would be great additions to any therapy clinic that works with patients who have chronic pain. They allow healthcare providers and patients to work though the complexities of unrelenting pain in a time-efficient and meaningful way. While this isn't a quick fix for pain or a substitute for skilled healthcare, it does fill the need of readers to gain a deeper understanding of their pain toward the goal of reducing fear, promoting easier movement and the ability to work despite discomfort, and increasing exercise with less nerve sensitivity.
Your Fibromyalgia Workbook is a 114-page, softcover text priced at $24.95. Why Do I Hurt? is a 52-page, softcover text priced at $17.95. Both are available from OPTP, 888-819-0121 or www.optp.com
Kristen Kwiatkowski-Digwood is a GEM (geriatric enhanced mobility) clinical specialist for Aegis Therapies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.