Asking Dr. Google

As a web designer and writer of clean code, I spend my time on the Internet to get the job done in time to please my clients. If I have to switch gears and research something in another area, it is a distraction for sure. Recently, however, I couldn’t say no. A friend had been diagnosed with the poorly-understood and debilitating disease of fibromyalgia and needed some information and data in order to cope. Because it was a medical issue, I asked Dr. Google first. My real doctor pooh poohs using the Web as a resource and makes fun of me when I go this route. He said there is only one person to consult, and that is he. The Internet doesn’t have a medical degree, he sneers.

Okay, so what is fibromyalgia and how do you treat it? Patients experience discomfort and pain as a result of overactive nerves and this suffering can occur in one or more trigger areas of the body. One time it could be the stomach and another the back. Symptoms vary with the individual, but pain relief is a top priority. A relatively new drug, Lyrica, is said to be helpful and it works well for some people. It doubles as a remedy for diabetic nerve pain in the feet. My friend was happy to get some answers but surely there were homeopathic medications that can fill in the gaps left by the ineffective Lyrica. Research led me to one big answer: massage. Apparently, clinical studies ( show that regular massage of affected parts of the body are very therapeutic.

People with fibromyalgia can have good and bad days, some of which are spent in bed. You know that feeling when you just can’t put your feet on the floor at all. Not even the smell of fresh-brewed coffee will entice you to come to the kitchen. My friend said that in his case, the arrival of a masseuse makes him almost elated, as much as a sick person can be. There is something about the human touch that works wonders, if not miracles. It makes him relax and let go of the tension and stress caused by recurrent fatigue and pain. He was glad that the “authorities” on the Facebook seem to agree. I found sites that sell home portable massage units for those too ill to get up and visit a salon or spa. Having a masseuse come to your home can be prohibitive.

The self-massager seems like a good idea and gets rave reviews. While athletes and exercise fanatics love them, people with fibromyalgia swear by regular treatments with a state-of-the-art machine. The best kind come with various attachments and have a variety of settings to meet individual taste. Although I don’t have a disease, I can see the benefit to anyone who spends a lot of time at the computer and gets a stiff neck or sore back. It is a special gadget to be sure. Take a look online for yourself and see.