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Personal experience with fibromyalgia prompts book

Jennifer G. Schnellmann, Ph.D., assistant professor, director of the Office of Scientific Editing and Publications, has taken her research and personal experience with fibromyalgia and written a book “Understanding and Conquering Fibromyalgia.” A condition of chronic fatigue and pain, along with numerous overlapping disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, and paresthesias, this disease may have hereditary underpinnings. Historically, Schnellmann had considered herself more “sensitive” to pain and stressors than most people. Now, she knows that such sensitivities are not just temperamental issues but an inherent and chronic condition.

Schnellmann is joined in battling this condition by many others: research suggests that 2 percent to 3 percent of the US suffers from fibromyalgia, which is likely a low estimate. Schnellmann wrote the book to reach those who have fibromyalgia, in addition to those who support others with fibromyalgia.

“I prefer controlling my own life, and I imagine others might, too,” Schnellmann said. “Thus, the book focuses on taking charge of your fibromyalgia and managing it as effectively, cheaply, and safely as possible.” In the book, she describes disease symptoms, common overlapping conditions, what is known about juvenile fibromyalgia, and information about the only three therapies approved in the US for fibromyalgia treatment. Also offered are discussions of non-drug treatments and a chapter about Schnellmann’s experience battling the condition.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.