Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body in the affected people. The pain is more or less constant making fibromyalgia one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the world.
It may be not be life-threatening but fibromyalgia can have a huge impact on the life of a person who is affected with this condition. The exact cause is not known although various triggers have been identified. These include genetic factors, trauma, stress, hormone imbalances, and pain signaling abnormality between brain and the nervous system.
The intensity of pain, symptoms and the discomfort may vary in patients. There are some broadly common signs like:
– Pain in body, joints, fatigue
– Memory issues
– Disturbed sleep
– Jaw pain or clicking
– Depression, anxiety
– Bowel, bladder issues
– Menstrual cramps
– Numbness or tingling in hands, feet
– Sensitivity to noise, light, external temperatures
Fibromyalgia is a tricky illness, as it manifests and evolves differently in each survivor and affects different set of muscles in each. The combination of symptoms are also very generic – loss of sleep, muscle stiffness, brain fog, making it difficult to be diagnosed.- Pooja Priyamvada, Pain Warrior
Triggers & Diagnoses
Fibromyalgia can be triggered in a person due to factors like, injury, trauma, surgery, emotional shock, infections etc. It is more common in women than men and can often be triggered after childbirth. People with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis are at a higher risk.
If a person complains of widespread pain for more than three months and there’s no underlying medical condition, chances are the person has fibromyalgia. Some blood tests can also be used to rule out other medical conditions as there is no specific lab test to diagnose fibromyalgia.
Dr. Anubha Mahajan is the founder of Chronic Pain India, India’s only pain survivor network that is working to create awareness about the struggles of chronic pain patients, says people with such conditions have a hard life. “The pain is constant in most cases but is gravely misunderstood due to the invisible form of the condition. Society needs to change its outlook and empathy and understanding from society and medical professionals can help people with chronic pain lead a better life.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, and medications, care and therapies can be used to manage the pain and other symptoms. Reduced stress, active lifestyle, counselling, sleep can also provide some relief.
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