Fibromyalgia and “new” MRI

I shook my head in disbelief on this "new" high tech, costly procedure that apparently provides a "new" way to treat people with fibromyalgia.

Apparently, one study, which appears more observational in nature, is the forefront for this breaking news and providing the rationale for a new MRI approach consisting of cervical flexion and extension positional views.  It seems the specialized MRI is only available at Valley Medical in Seattle (but of course, it will be coming your way some time in the future).

Andrew Holman, MD has spent the majority of his research on the role of dopamine in fibromyalgia.  Observationally, he has recently noted that about 65% of patients with fibromyalgia also have positional cervical spinal cord compression.  (From a patient's psychological perspective – wonderful – add one more "scary" term to their current condition and one more issue to add to their list of problems.)

As I was watching this news report I was surprised that exercise was a novel approach for people with fibromyalgia.  Granted, the "exercise" was highly focused on postural muscles, but research does indicate that general exercise provides good outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia and that exercise should be a part of the regular routine for them.

Fabulous to add increased cost to a condition that already has evidence supporting exercise in the treatment intervention.  Holman may think it is "novel" to include exercise as part of the treatment, but I'd hope for most physical therapists, exercise isn't "novel."

The kicker of the whole news report was the ending… "Holman is conducting another study to find out if the condition [my addendum: positional cervical spinal cord compression] also shows up in people without symptoms."  Nice…

Happy April Fool's Day.  And no, this wasn't a joke, but it may turn out to be a sad joke for people with fibromyalgia if positional cervical spinal cord compression does occur at a reasonable frequency in people without symptoms.