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Dealing with your pain together

The Hillel Yaffe Pain Unit is opening a support group for women with fibromyalgia - a condition that that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and negatively impacts quality of life

Dr. Ayelet Midbari

Muscle pain throughout the body, high level of sensitivity to pressure - even the most gentle at various points on the body, trouble standing up, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, impaired concentration, memory issues and more - all characterize the condition known as fibromyalgia, which affects 2%-4% of the population. The Pain Unit at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center is currently opening a special support group for women with the disorder. It is designed to help them cope with the condition through methods beyond medication.


"The disorder or condition is more common in women that in men, and the trigger for its appearance is not fully known, although we do know that there is a genetic-familial component," said Dr. Ayelet Midbari, Director of the Pain Unit in Hillel Yaffe's Neurology Department, who started and guides the group. "Additionally, factors such as surgery, serious disease and psychological stress may serve as a trigger." 


The main difficulty faced by fibromyalgia patients relates to the diagnosis and the recognition that there is a real physical source of pain. Patients usually undergo a lengthy series of tests - blood tests, imaging and more, are examined by a wide variety of specialists such as neurologists, rheumatologists, orthopedists and pain physicians, who are not immediately able to find the source of the pain. The tests they take frequently come back normal, although patients continue to suffer from pain that significantly and negatively impacts their quality of life. Many patients develop depression and anxiety, are treated with a lack of respect and are not believed by the medical establishment and those around them. 


As noted above, there is no test that can diagnose fibromyalgia. However, after diagnosed, there are therapies - medicinal and others such as appropriate physical activity and psychological therapy. Note that there is no unequivocal solution for the disorder, and patients actually "learn to live with it."  


Studies conducted in recent years show that the pain system of fibromyalgia patients has become overly sensitive, and is therefore more easily triggered and amplifies sensations so that sensations that are not painful also trigger pain.


The support group for women with fibromyalgia is currently starting as part of the Pain Unit, and it is designed to offer support and provide tools to help cope with the disorder and improve quality of life. The group will hold 10-12 weekly meetings. The meetings will be facilitated by Dr. Ayelet Midbari, a pain relief specialist, together with a psychotherapist and nurse who serves as the Pain Coordinator at Hillel Yaffe. There will be a token cost for the meetings, which will be held in a calm and personal environment.


For additional information, please call: 04-6304262.

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