Addressing Unmet Needs in Fibromyalgia Care, with Lora Black, PhD

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Lora Black, PhD, sheds light on the importance of patient-centered education and comprehensive care in fibromyalgia.

In an interview with HCPLive, Lora Black, PhD, psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, discussed the results of an online survey of patients with fibromyalgia. Participants reported confusion regarding the cause and symptoms, as well as a desire for the people in their lives to be more understanding of their condition.

Black explains the idea for their research stemmed from hearing patients express a lack of understanding and control over their fibromyalgia, leading to difficulties in receiving necessary care. The study findings mirrored the challenges patients often discuss, such as facing skepticism about their pain experience, highlighting the need for improved education and communication.

According to Black, a significant unmet need in the field is providing comprehensive biopsychosocial care for conditions like fibromyalgia. Although interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary care is proven to be effective, such clinics are scarce. She emphasized patients require consistent support from a team that acknowledges their suffering, believes in their experience, and offers a holistic approach combining medical, psychological, and physical therapy. Better education on the nature of their condition is also crucial, as many express confusion about what is happening to them.

Her future research plans include exploring how educational interventions can be tailored to patients' preferences and aims to combine the findings with existing education interventions for chronic pain and involve patients in deciding how they want to receive information—whether through one-on-one sessions or self-guided online resources. The goal is to create patient-centered educational interventions that address their specific needs and preferences.

Ultimately, it is essential to understand the pervasive impact of chronic pain on various aspects of their lives. As chronic pain doesn't exist in isolation, it often influences other medical conditions and overall wellbeing. Black believes being open to asking questions, offering support, and making patients feel heard, respected, and believed can make a significant difference in their experience and care.

Lora Black, PhD, has no relevant disclosures to report.

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