TSM17-14 Understanding Fibromyalgia with Dr Ric Arseneau

Their Story Matters with Sara Troy and her guest Dr Ric Arseneau, on air from April 4th

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) was recognized as a true syndrome by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990. FM is thought to exist in 2% to 3% of the population. It occurs in both men and women and women are affected 6 to 9 times more often than men. In women, FM occurs most commonly between the ages of 30 to 60.  FM can also affect teenagers, children, and the elderly. FM has no known cause. Current research into how the nervous system deals with pain has shown that various abnormalities are present in people who have FM.

Other studies have indicated that genetic (inherited) factors may predispose some individuals to develop FM. These genetic factors can affect how the body responds to pain, physical or emotional trauma, and illnesses (such as viral infections).

This work is at the research stage and not yet available for doctors to help diagnose patients with FM in their offices. But this knowledge can be helpful in the management of FM.


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Meet DR Ric Arseneau MD FRCPC MA(Ed) MBA FACP CGP is an academic general internist working out of St. Paul’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital, and an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia. In addition to interests in medical education and medical informatics, he holds an MBA and an MA in Adult Education. Dr. Arseneau’s clinical interests include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and related disorders as well as eating disorders. He is Director of Program Planning and a clinician at the Complex Chronic Diseases Program (CCDP); Director of the Rapid Access Specialist Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital; and Director of the Internal Medicine Ambulatory Rotation at St. Paul’s Hospital. He is also trained and certified as a group psychotherapist.


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