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Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects 6.3% of the world's population. Between 75 and 90% of cases are observed in women, but it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups. 

For some years now, digitalization in healthcare has been a reality. The pandemic left us with many lessons learned, which lead us to improve processes thanks to technological tools that are increasingly being used by healthcare professionals. 

However, chronic diseases are relentless and require continuous rehabilitation processes. Technology makes it possible to involve the patient in long-term treatments such as those for chronic diseases, thus, helping to improve recovery processes and to reduce healthcare costs for healthcare providers and for the patients themselves.

What is fibromyalgia and how does it manifest itself?

Fibromyalgia is a disease recognized by the World Health Organization that encompasses a set of symptoms, mainly persistent musculoskeletal pain for more than 3 months—a diffuse, non-specific pain that affects different soft tissues of the body in a generalized way. As it has no obvious cause, we say that it is an idiopathic disease.

In addition to pain, fibromyalgia may be accompanied by sleep disorders, morning stiffness, memory problems, mood problems and other psychological factors. It is closely related to chronic fatigue.

Although people with fibromyalgia may show signs of anxiety, depression or stress, fibromyalgia is not a psychological illness. Often, these signs are related to the person's negative perception of their illness, the persistence of their symptoms and their impact on day-to-day living.

With the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) it is possible to assess the health status of people with fibromyalgia and to classify their disease into one of 3 degrees of severity: mild, moderate or severe.

How is this disease treated?

Since pain is the main symptom, physiotherapy plays an important role in the recovery of people with fibromyalgia. Physiotherapy is responsible for developing, maintaining and restoring movement and functional ability throughout life. Its role becomes increasingly important as time goes by, as it helps us to combat the aging process and maintain our body functions for as long as possible.

Through rehabilitation programs based on re-education, people with fibromyalgia can create new routines to improve their habits and reduce symptoms such as pain, chronic fatigue and muscle weakness. The healthcare professional is in charge of designing a program adapted to each person.

It is important to create a bond between professional and patient to increase adherence to treatment and ensure the therapeutic efficacy of re-education, so that the patient adopts the necessary strategies to make their habits healthier. In addition, physical exercise helps to increase the release of hormones that induce relaxation and well-being in the body such as serotonin and endorphins.

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New ways to treat fibromyalgia

New forms of care such as telerehabilitation have gained a lot of ground in the treatment of different diseases, both chronic and acute. Telerehabilitation is a form of telemedicine that provides remote rehabilitation services. In this way, the professional can prescribe therapeutic exercises, monitor the patient remotely and better control the effectiveness of treatment thanks to the ability to measure the patient's progress objectively. Digital telerehabilitation platforms help the professional increase accessibility and improve the continuity of care for people with limitations such as the elderly or those with a certain degree of disability.

Through telerehabilitation, the professional can better organize their time to be able to treat a greater number of patients and effectively and safely control all the recovery processes that each patient needs, according to their pathology or musculoskeletal disorder.
People suffering from chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia can benefit from these technological tools since it is a disease that must be treated continuously and in the long term.

The world is changing in every way. Healthcare professionals, especially physical therapists, cannot be left behind. For this reason, digital platforms such as ReHub benefit both the professional and the patient by reducing recovery times, increasing adherence to treatment and objectively assessing the patient's progress.