Welcome to Circle Fibro Clinic, a specialist service based in Berkshire aimed at helping people manage the pain that they experience from fibromyalgia. We understand that living with fibromyalgia can make even the simplest jobs overwhelming and tiring.
While curing fibromyalgia may be impossible, there are many tried and tested methods including medication, injections and personalised physical rehabilitation that can make a huge difference in managing the pain and significantly improving quality of life.
Many fibromyalgia patients say that they have tried many things or even “everything” in their search for answers to their fibromyalgia problems. It’s time to see a doctor and a team who understand and knows how to treat your fibromyalgia effectively.
We aim to provide a multidisciplinary service offering a holistic set of treatment options that can ease the pain felt by fibro sufferers.
Dr Deepak Ravindran is a Consultant Pain and MSK Specialist at Circle Rehabilitation. He is also lead consultant in pain medicine at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. His special clinical expertise includes fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome and cancer pain. He firmly believes pain disorders should be treated as early as possible with excellent quality rehabilitation and appropriate use of multidisciplinary techniques.
His team at the Royal Berkshire won first prize in the General Patient category at the National Grunenthal Pain awards in May 2017; his private clinic received the whatclinic.com 2014 award for customer service, and he has been awarded the certificate of excellence by iwantgreatcare.org for 2017.
Dr Amber Johnston is a Clinical Psychologist at Circle Rehabilitation. She completed training in Clinical and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the George Washington University’s Psy.D. programme in Washington DC in 2009. Her interest in rehabilitation work ignited during this training with placements in MSK hospital settings and in corrections within the American local and federal prison systems.
Dr Johnston began a specialist neuropsychological placement at the National Jewish Hospital, affiliated with the University of Denver Hospital, and continued with post-doctoral neuropsychology placements at Nexus Hospitals outside of Houston, Texas, where she was also Director of Clinical Services for two neurorehabilitation hospital sites within the network.
Neurological psychologist Rachel Howes qualified in 2005 from Oxford Brookes University and gained a Band 6 post in Neurology at Chase Farm Hospital Barnet. She has also worked in elderly care, a renal unit and other departments at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and with neurological patients in the community, promoting their independence.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a persistent widespread pain disorder and is second only to osteoarthritis and spinal pain as the most common condition seen in pain management and rheumatology clinics. It affects quality of life by impairing a patient’s ability to function and participate in everyday activities, affecting relationships with family and friends.
What does it feel like?
Fibromyalgia pain can often be unrelenting and debilitating. It is experienced as generalised, head-to-toe aching or sometimes a burning sensation. It can fluctuate at different times and can be experienced in different areas of the body.
What symptoms are seen with fibromyalgia?
Typically, patients will have widespread pain in most parts of the body including multiple tender points, concentration and memory issues known as “fibrofog”, chronic fatigue and sleep disturbances.
Along with this, they can have other symptoms such as migraine, facial pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, low mood, intolerance to cold, chronic fatigue, chest pain, widespread numbness and pins and needles and feelings of fatigue. All of these are referred jointly as fibromyalgia syndrome.
What causes fibromyalgia?
Research would suggest that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system. There are multiple factors though the exact cause is less known. MRI scans show changes in the brain and central nervous system, which may result in patients’ low pain threshold. There may be environmental, genetic, gender, hormonal, sleep disturbance or dietary factors that can affect the nervous system of some individuals, making them susceptible.
How common is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is becoming increasingly common. Recent studies suggest up to 5% of the population is likely to suffer from the condition. Onset typically occurs in middle age, but it can be diagnosed in people of any age. It is more common in women than in men.
Can fibromyalgia be cured?
Like other chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, thyroid problems and hypertension, it cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed to a great extent. A number of symptoms can be controlled very well.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
Three factors are needed for diagnosis of fibromyalgia:
Diagnosis should be accompanied by a thorough explanation of the condition that acknowledges the pain is real, not imagined. Patients are most satisfied by explanations that remove blame, take into account psychological and biological factors, and suggest concrete ideas for management.
What is the treatment for fibromyalgia?
No single treatment addresses every symptom. A variety of medications can be given and physiotherapy in the form of graded exercise therapy, psychological therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment etc) and complementary therapies can be used. With the right combination of therapies, pain becomes less intense and is more manageable, enabling patients to have better function and quality of life.
At Circle Rehabilitation, a personalised approach including any or all of the above options can be provided after initial consultation.
What is unique about the treatment offered at Circle Fibro Clinic for fibromyalgia?
It can take up to 3-6 months for most fibromyalgia patients to be seen by an NHS specialist. In the private healthcare sector, there are group-based programmes available for such patients.
Circle Fibro Clinic is part of Circle Rehabilitation. For those seeking an individually-focused rehabilitation approach, it offers the chance to step on to a bespoke fibromyalgia rehabilitation programme just a week to 10 days after the first consultation. Fibromyalgia is often associated with fatigue, and disturbed or fragmented sleep can amplify patients’ pain: at Circle Rehabilitation, sleep hygiene and managing sleep will be addressed and appropriate advice given.
Circle Reading Hospital, where Circle Rehabilitation is based, has a set of state-of-the-art therapeutic and exercise equipment unique in the UK outside specialist facilities for armed forces personnel, police officers and professional sportsmen and women. Machines which may be particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia patients include the Hydro Physio, an aquatic treadmill allowing patients to exercise their muscles and joints supported and their pain eased by the water around them.