“Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that… what is it?”
It’s hard to actually say, since if you google it, you will find so many answers. Medical providers and researchers still argue whether or not it’s an autoimmune, neurological, psychological, or “other” category of disease. The mystery pain disorder, that once upon a time, prior to the opioid epidemic, managed (barely) my pain medications and patients were sent on their way. Truth is, these pain medications, don’t really fix the pain, they barely touch the surface of it. In fibromyalgia patients pain is present upon palpitation in at least 11 of the 18 tender point sites on the body. Fibromyalgia is one of the most common types of chronic pain disorders. It is estimated that more than 5 million people in the United States have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia can be characterized as a disorder presenting widespread musculoskeletal pain, accompanied by anxiety, insomnia, migraine, cognitive issues, weakness, tingling in the extremities, numbness, brain fog, migraines, irritability, abdominal pain, Irritable bowel syndrome, stiffness, cramps, widespread unexplainable pain, achy bones and joints, exhaustion, shortness of breath, night sweats, chills, sensory overload, mood disorders, chemical sensitivities, skin issues, jaw pain, myofascial pain, P.M.S., tender lymph nodes, and the list, goes on.
Often time’s symptoms begin after a physical trauma, infection or illness, surgery, or significant psychological stress. Other times however symptoms start to appear over time, without a single triggering event. Most commonly Fibromyalgia is found in women, however men do get it as well. Generally around childbearing age, but children and young adults can be diagnosed with this disease as well.
There is no cure, as there is no exact known cause for fibromyalgia. There are several medications on the market to help control symptoms, however, they don’t work for everyone, and have many of their own side effects. Symptom management is generally the best and only method for those suffering with fibromyalgia. If you live with fibromyalgia it can feel isolating at times, often you may feel like you are alone and no one understands you. The common cold may quite literally make you feel like you are dying when someone else is able to still function with the same cold. Some supplements and diet changes may help some patients suffering with fibromyalgia, but no two patients present exactly the same.
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other conditions, such as:
· Irritable Bowel Syndrome
· Depression and Anxiety
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· Interstitial cystitis
· Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
· Restless leg syndrome
· Multiple chemical sensitivities
Remember, everyone's pain is different, and not all illnesses and disabilities can be seen, always be kind.