Latest by Karen Lee Richards

10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Flares

A fibromyalgia flare (or flare-up) is a temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms. Worsening pain and fatigue are generally the first two symptoms noticed in a fibro-flare. But other symptoms like poor sleep, increased cognitive d...

Joint Hypermobility and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is rarely the only diagnosis a person has. Usually someone with fibromyalgia also has one or more comorbid or overlapping conditions, such as ME/CFS, irritable bowel syndrome, restless legs syndrome, Migraines, allergies, etc. One possib...

6 Tips for Improving Relationships with Chronic Pain

Jason Elia, a Nashville TV writer decided to give his girlfriend two extremely nice Christmas gifts - an engagement ring and Super Bowl tickets. Unfortunately, before he had a chance to give them to her, he got two pieces of bad news. First, he was d...

Cannabis Boosts Effect of Opioids for Chronic Pain Relief

A new study, published in the December issue of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, suggests that adding a cannabinoid to opioid therapy may result in greater relief of chronic pain at lower opioid doses. Study Design and Results Twenty-one ind...

Fibromyalgia Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency

A new study, to be published in the journal Pain Medicine, found that people with fibromyalgia tended to be deficient in vitamin D. The results also indicated that treatment with high-dose vitamin D3 resulted in significant improvement of most fibrom...

FDA Approves REMS for Transmucosal Immediate-Release Fentanyl Meds

Since 2007, the FDA has been discussing and debating the development of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) for opioid medications. The purpose of these REMS is to make access to opioid drugs more difficult for drug abusers while still g...

Unusual "Prescriptions:" Strange Advice from Health Professionals

All month I’ve been writing on serious subjects, so I thought it might be fun to end the month on a somewhat lighter note. Over the years, I’ve heard all kinds of unusual advice that health care professionals have given to patients. Some of the advic...

What Happened to the National Fibromyalgia Association?

Over the past several months, I’ve received questions from a number of you asking what happened to the NFA, why their phones seemed to be disconnected, and what was going to happen with your magazine subscriptions. I’ve been trying to get answers for ...

Flu Shots: Should You Get One if You Have Fibromyalgia?

Every year as flu season nears, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients wrestle with the question of whether or not to get a flu shot. Unfortunately, there is not a simple one-size-fits-all answer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that every...

Some Fibromyalgia Patients Experience Reverse-Placebo Effects

We’ve all heard of the placebo effect - when a patient so strongly believes a new treatment will work that they experience improvement even though the treatment may not be real. Did you know that there is also a nocebo effect? It’s the opposite of a ...