Chronic pain, tender to the touch on the body, fatigue, and sleep problems, are all symptoms of fibromyalgia. This syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue of the body. The trouble with this condition is that there is no lab test for diagnosis, rather, the culmination of symptoms leads to the fibromyalgia conclusion for sufferers.
This condition is frequently undetected and misdiagnosed for this reason. However, for people living in pain, they want a solution to their problem. More of the symptoms include headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss called “fibro fog,” numbness and tingling in the extremities, irritable bowel syndrome, and feeling body aches all over. This is no way to live. The difference between fibromyalgia and other conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, is that the pain is not located in one area…. it is chronic and all over the body. A lot of this pain can even be at the surface of the skin, simply triggered by touch.
Persons with fibro just feel exhausted all the time. Even with quality sleep, the body is still tired. This is disruptive to one’s lifestyle including lack of energy to attend work, exercise, and or even just going to the grocery store. These activities take too much energy. Imagine being too tired to even fold laundry. This is frustrating and mentally exhausting as a person is feeling pressured to be part of daily life, but physically too tired to do so. Waking up in the morning is when the body just feels stiff. What sleep a person with fibro does get, is easily disrupted. Brain activity continues as if the person were awake. This in turn, affects one’s mood. A person becomes worried they won’t be able to keep up with daily activities, and this reality leads to depression and anxiety. Relationships can become affected. Short term memory also starts to suffer. Paresthesia (tingling and numbing feeling in the hands and feet) can stop a person in their tracks. All of these factors seem like walls in the way of being able to do things.
A doctor can prescribe medication to help with the pain, and the key is remembering to consistently take these medications. There are also alternative methods such as acupuncture, message, and physical therapy. Exercise, especially walking, can help increase blood flow and decrease pain. Balance and resistance training exercises will also help the body. Keeping the mind active is also important. A person with fibro should pace themselves as they learn to adapt to their energy demands. Trying not to become overwhelmed or easily discouraged is important. Making sure to eat a nutrient filled diet is also critical, especially with vitamin D. Caffeine should be avoided because the sleep cycle of a person with fibro is easily disturbed. Although caffeine might feel like an energy booster, drinking caffeine has been associated with increased fibro pain.
Communication is important with relationships and with employers. Lack of energy can be perceived as lack of effort, but when a person with fibro expresses their medical concerns with others, one can aim to find a balance to life’s demands. Fibromyalgia needs more medical research to help sufferers and alleviate such pain. Living a life through struggle is no way to live at all.