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Steven P. Stanos, DO

Steven P. Stanos, DO currently serves as Executive Medical Director of Rehabilitation and Performance Medicine, Swedish Pain Services at the Swedish Health System in Seattle, Washington. Aside from directing pain management services for the hospital system, he also leads Swedish's pain rehabilitation center, Functional Restoration, an integral part of the pain medicine continuum of care. In addition to his work with Swedish Health System, he is active with committees work at Providence St. Joseph Health related to the system integration of pain management including primary and specialty care. Prior to joining Swedish and Providence, he served as medical director of the Center for Pain Management at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Northwestern University Medical School from 2002-2014, and served as an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and program-co chair of the multidisciplinary pain fellowship.

Dr. Stanos is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine by the American Board of Pain Medicine and by the American Board of Anesthesia.

Dr. Stanos is a Past President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Pain Medicine. He served as a panel member on the Service Delivery and Reimbursement work group for the National Pain Strategy, an invited consultant to the CDC for the CDC Opioid Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, and as a work group member for Healthy People 2020 and Healthy People 2030. He is active with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has served as the co- chair of education for the Pain and Neuromuscular Council.

Dr. Stanos's work also includes ongoing educational initiatives for primary care, pain medicine, and physical medicine specialists around the United States and abroad. Dr. Stanos has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters related to pain management. He has been involved in the development and publication of treatment guidelines related to rehabilitation approaches for chronic pain and low back pain conditions. He also serves on the editorial board for the journal Pain Medicine and as a reviewer for other pain and rehabilitation journals.

A Mayday Foundation Advocacy fellow in 2013, Dr. Stanos's advocacy has continued to focus on increasing awareness and access for inter-disciplinary biopsychosocially-based pain care for patients suffering with chronic pain. In 2014, the University of Washington Department of Pain Medicine awarded Dr. Stanos with the John J. Bonica, MD lecture. He has appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, Fox News, regional print, and television news covering various topics related to pain medicine and pain rehabilitation.

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young woman suffering from fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia: First Steps After a Diagnosis

Things you can do to feel more prepared and supported.


The days and weeks after you’re first diagnosed with fibromyalgia can be a whirlwind of emotions. You may feel anxious about what’s to come, angry that you have a chronic illness, sad that your lifestyle might have to change—or even happy to finally have a diagnosis! Here are some things you can do to feel more prepared and supported.

Coordinate your health care team
Chances are you’ll have multiple health care providers (HCPs)—possibly working at separate facilities—treating your fibromyalgia. These can include a primary care doctor, rheumatologist/neurologist, pain care specialist (i.e., anesthesiologist, physical medicine specialist), psychologist and physical therapist, some of whom you may see more often than others. Coordinating with your health care team may help ensure you get the best treatment.

Make a contact list of all your HCPs to distribute to each of them, and request that they coordinate with each other on your care and share information as needed. Take the time to connect using email if possible, phone if necessary—whatever it takes to keep your team informed and united.

Consider a “whole patient” approach
Fibromyalgia will likely affect many areas of your life, and unfortunately there’s no “one thing” that will make you feel better. Many experts agree that a “whole patient” approach—one that encompasses mind, body and environment—is the best way to treat and manage the condition.

A “whole patient” approach usually encompasses many areas of influence and types of treatment. Your HCPs may work to help you develop an exercise routine; teach you meditation, visualization or other relaxation techniques; craft a healthy diet; find a balance of appropriate medications and/or supplements; use massage or physical therapy to help with your pain and mobility; and much more.

Adopt pain management strategies
There are many approaches to pain management. Your HCP will likely review several different options with you as you work together to find a combination that gives you support and relief. While many pain management strategies may start with medication, they may expand to include other approaches such as relaxation techniques. For example, relaxation training with biofeedback techniques can teach you to identify pain centers and neutralize them with techniques like deep breathing, visualization or meditation. Conventional treatments such as heating pads and cold packs, as well as warm baths, can help relax both your mind and your body while reducing pain.

Learn about medications
While complementary therapies may offer relief, there are also medications available to treat fibromyalgia. In recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications specifically for the management of fibromyalgia.

Your HCP may also suggest other medication options to help manage pain and address any additional issues you may experience.

If you’re juggling a variety of medications, you can use tools like daily/weekly pill organizers—or high-tech tools—to stay organized and ensure you’re taking medications correctly.

Ease into exercise
If you’re exhausted and hurting, it may be hard to get excited about exercising or any physical activity. You might be surprised to learn, however, that many HCPs recommend low-impact exercises like gentle swimming, walking, cycling, and tai chi to help ease pain and fatigue – and this can also help to raise your spirits. Stretching can help keep you limber. It’s important to remember that easing into exercise may have ups, downs and plateaus—so cut yourself some slack. And, be sure to discuss any exercise goals with your HCP before starting.

Keep thorough medical records
Maintaining accurate, organized medical records can play a big role in minimizing the stress that can come with a chronic illness. Organized records will make it easier to speak with your insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid; help you remember what treatments you received, and when; and enable you to chart your long-term progress.

So dig out that shoebox of paperwork from under your bed and start organizing! You may choose to sort your records by service date, HCP or facility location; some people prefer paper, while others like to create accompanying digital records (like spreadsheets) to track expenses. Determine the system that best fits your personal style and stick with it.

Manage personal relationships
Fibromyalgia can have a significant impact on your personal relationships with family and friends. You need a good support system, a team to cheer you on when things are tough and to keep your attitude positive.

Just like other big life events, diagnosis with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia may bring out the best—and worst—in the people around you. As you share your experience with friends and family, take the time to strengthen bonds with those who show empathy and patience…and don’t be afraid to build healthy boundaries that protect you from those who don’t respect your experience and needs. Over time you’ll create a team that motivates and supports you, through good times and bad.

A chronic pain condition can be a struggle to manage. But, in so many ways, the outlook for people with fibromyalgia has never been better. Today, experts understand better how to diagnose, treat, and manage fibromyalgia symptoms. Together, you and your health care team can develop a strategy that works best for you.

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