Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) condition which is widely misunderstood both by the sufferer and the medical profession. The origins of Fibromyalgia symptoms are not known and it is for this reason that it is often referred to as an “invisible illness.”
There are said to be a number of triggers which can potentially cause Fibromyalgia. These can include physical or emotional trauma, an abnormal brain response to pain whereby the brain reacts differently to those not suffering the condition. Low levels of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine have also been found in the brains of those suffering Fibromyalgia.
The Fibromyalgia symptoms are wide and varied but generally, sufferers will experience some, if not all from the following symptoms list:
- widespread pain, particularly at 18 specific trigger sites
- increased sensitivity to pain and even touch
- overwhelming tiredness
- tight muscles and stiffness, similar to flu-like symptoms
- sleeping issues, invariably waking up still tired and not refreshed
- problems with memory and concentration (known as “fibro-fog”)
- headaches, often accompanied with neck and shoulder stiffness
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome often accompanies Fibromyalgia
- depression, easy to understand when you are suffering with an invisible illness
Fibromyalgia symptoms can vary enormously between sufferers.
Many can function on a day to day basis but others, can end up confined to bed during a flare up of their symptoms.
Nobody is immune from Fibromyalgia and anybody can develop the condition. It appears to affect more women than men and can typically develop between the ages of 30 and 50. However, children and the elderly can also be affected.
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 20 people may be suffering with Fibromyalgia symptoms although there are no specific statistics. At this time, there is still no dedicated test for the condition and it’s symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses and diseases. Currently there is no cure for Fibromyalgia.
At this time, treatment for the Fibromyalgia sufferer appears to be limited to antidepressants and painkillers. Talking therapies can also be helpful however, in my experience lifestyle changes have proved most beneficial.