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Second wave triggers a spike in painful fibromyalgia cases | India News


The stress of the second wave of the pandemic is triggering fibromyalgia, a painful condition without an easy diagnosis, in many people. Dr. Biswarup Sen, an orthopedic and joint replacement specialist, has seen a 10-fold increase in the number of fibromyalgia cases since last year and expects the number to rise as the pandemic continues.
“The psychological stress that people experienced during the second wave, the deaths around them, the economic uncertainty, is triggering this condition,” said Sen. Clinically, it means ongoing body pain, especially around the shoulders and lower back. “In some patients the pain is debilitating, it can be as painful as a fracture. Patients’ sleep is severely disturbed, as is their ability to work and concentrate, ”added Sen, who consults at Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.
Musculoskeletal pain, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disruption, and memory problems are classic symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition in which the brain amplifies the sensation of pain.
In Hyderabad, Dr. Keerthi Talari said she has seen a 30-50% increase in the number of cases since December last year. “The stress of the pandemic continues. Even last year, when the block was lifted and patients began to see OPDs, we noticed that many of them had fibromyalgia symptoms. In middle-aged women it is present in 20-30%, ”said Talari, consulting rheumatologist at Yashoda Hospital.
Vibha Choudhary *, 42, has been experiencing fibromyalgia pain and associated symptoms since contracting Covid last year. “After recovering from Covid I was anxious and depressed. After a while, I developed pain in my right arm that then moved to my neck and back, ”said Choudhary, who had to receive steroid injections to get relief.
Many in the information technology sector are exhibiting these symptoms, said Dr. Bipin Jibhkate in Mumbai. “They say they can’t concentrate well. They often feel the need to rest or sleep. It is affecting your quality of life. If before they could walk 5 km in an hour, now they can only walk 2 km, ”said Jibhkate, critical care medicine consultant at Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai.
A classic feature of this condition is that it is difficult to diagnose. All investigations and reports are normal. “Misdiagnosis is common in fibromyalgia. You need a complete clinical examination and a detailed medical history. There is no proof for it and even among physicians it is not well recognized, ”Sen said. There are no official data indicating its prevalence in the Indian population, but in the US, 5% of all patients who come to pain clinics have fibromyalgia.

Times of India