Fibromyalgia is an under-diagnosed disorder of unknown origin affecting an estimated 4% of the general population. It is commonly referred to as an invisible illness as those afflicted suffer often incredible amounts of pain as well as physical and cognitive collapse but may also, at times, appear healthy to the casual observer.
Those of us who suffer from the condition simply know that physical trauma, viruses, toxins, or severe emotional and physical stress seem to trigger the many symptoms of fibromyalgia. The brain and central nervous system in turn play havoc on all body systems, which causes malfunctioning in many organs and tissues.
Foremost among the various fibromyalgia symptoms are:
- Muscular and joint pain throughout the body
- A deep and prevailing fatigue not made better by rest
- Sleep disorders
- Cognitive problems
Afflicted individuals are beginning to be better understood due to advances in brain mapping, magnetic resonance scanning and electroencephalograms but all too often they are misdiagnosed as having a mental disorder, and told their symptoms are considered “all in their head”.
Treating fibromyalgia with commonly prescribed doses of antidepressant, psychotropic, neuroleptic and other neuro-toxic medications often exacerbates the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Studies reveal that patients with fibromyalgia are highly sensitive to these medications and very often they can only tolerate a fraction of a normal dosage, without experiencing serious side effects.
At present there is no cure for fibromyalgia only treatments, mainly holistic, to reduce symptoms. Those suffering from fibromyalgia need to arm themselves with a solid understanding of the condition as well as those physical and emotional factors which can both generate, and reduce, the likely hood of flare-ups.
They must learn healthy lifestyles, balancing their activities and pacing themselves with self- care and the therapies needed to live a better quality of life. Diet and carefully controlled exercise as well as rest and relaxation techniques play a critically important role in coping with the condition.
There is a great deal of research underway and progress is being made towards better treatments. The drugs Pregabalin, ( also known as Lyrica) as well as Cymbalta are often prescribed to relieve pain, but the side effects of those drugs can be very disabling for many people.
Fibromyalgia is a very debilitating physical condition which can be demoralizing in the extreme. It is very important that those afflicted receive the understanding and support of family and friends, co-workers and associates as well as the medical and insurance communities to help them maintain the courage to cope with its symptoms.
Above all, those afflicted must remain positive as they progress on their respective paths towards wellness.
For more medically specific information regarding fibromyalgia you may wish to consult:
Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Canadian Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols–A Consensus Document: http://www.mefmaction.net/Portals/0/docs//FMConsensusDocumentbk.pdf
For more first hand information directly from the those who suffer from ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia you may wish to join the Fibromyalgia Worldwide Group at: