Friday marks 25 years of chronic pain support

Published 6:01 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

Fibromyalgia, or other chronic pain diseases, can be debilitating for those who suffer from it, but supporters are fighting to give them hope.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes chronic pain and/or muscle fatigue throughout the body. There is not a set cause for fibromyalgia, but doctors believe it is triggered by traumatic events, repetitive injuries or illness, or it could also be genetic.

There are more than 3 million new cases of fibromyalgia in the United States each year, according to medical research group Mayo Clinic. The disorder cannot be cured, but there are treatment options, from exercise and relaxation techniques, to support groups and medications.

On April 24, Mayor Mac Hodges declared Friday as “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Day” in the city of Washington. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also made a similar statewide proclamation.

“Research into the causes of the disorder has been disappointing and has not led to any marked understanding or improved therapy over the last seven years. Since the disorder is non-fatal, not well defined and not progressive, it does not garner the interest and funds of established diseases such as cancer, AIDS or heart disease,” Dr. Randal White, a Washington rheumatologist, wrote last year.

White continued: “Considerable work is necessary before this disorder becomes one that providers want to treat, and patients don’t mind having. Until that time, those who suffer with this common syndrome should see to maximize those things that only they can: exercise, stress management and quality sleep.

This is why awareness and more research on fibromyalgia are necessary, according to White.

Friday marks the 25th anniversary of National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Started in 1992, Awareness Day is meant to coincide with the birth date of modern nursing founder Florence Nightingale, who was thought to have suffered with the disorder.

According to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, Friday is a time to celebrate successes, remember those who have suffered from the disorders, be inspired to fight back and support community events.

For questions or more information about these disorders, call Vidant Rheumatology of Washington at 252-948-4990. Information is also available at