Too often doctors fall into the trap of putting a label on a patient’s presentation without looking at the whole picture. Chronic pain is a condition far more expanded than just a sensation of pain that has not resolved after 3-6 months.
Chronic pain affects one’s function, sleep, mood, ability to work and self care. Fibromyalgia is a dysfunction of central nervous system’s ability to inhibit pain signals and changes into miss-interpretation of sensory signals into pain signals. Along these come fatigue and slow down of cognitive abilities. For a person with these symptoms, depression would not be surprising. If one can’t function, can’t organize their finances, can’t spend quality time with family members and can’t even have restful sleep at night or day.
Depression would come as a natural consequence of all theses. So if we look at the big picture or better said, the whole person, we can see that picking a portion of the spectrum, putting a label on it and trying to explain all different aspects of a patient’s suffering with that one label is a big mistake. This would lead into having a model of thought, accepting anything that fits into that model and dismissing anything else that falls outside this model. This is a major issue in today’s medicine and leads into significant level of frustration among pain patient population. We better start looking at the whole person instead of focusing on one or few symptoms.
Patients are people who are far more than a diagnostic label.