Of all the conditions that the human body can suffer from, fibromyalgia is undoubtedly one of the most perplexing.
The condition – which literally means “pain of the muscles” – is often dismissed as not existing. It is the reserve of those who are malingering, critics say. It’s a trash can diagnosis when doctors don’t have a real answer.
Not only is this pervading opinion incredibly wrong, but it’s also horribly dismissive of the problems that fibromyalgia sufferers go through on a daily basis. The condition is medically and scientifically recognized, which should be enough to silence any doubters. It has a set definition of symptoms and recognized treatment options – illnesses don’t get much more “real” than that.
So What Is It?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition, which ranges from mild and occasional pain to intensely severe, disabling pain. It has an assortment of symptoms, but the most recognized are the “trigger points”. These are known points on the body that, when touched, are extremely painful despite no obvious external injury or sign of issue. Here’s a simple diagram showing the trigger points used to ascertain a diagnosis:
Fibromyalgia tends to wax and wane, meaning sufferers have good days – in which they sometimes feel almost completely healthy – and bad days, which can leave them bed bound. The condition can be so severe that it prevents the sufferer from working and thus reliant on government payments, with the help of specialists such as David Chermol available to ensure they receive full entitlement.
What’s The Treatment?
Pain management – usually via medication – is the primary treatment. While research into the condition is ongoing, for the moment, there is no known cure. Instead, sufferers have to try and manage the pain, often combining oral medication with physiotherapy.
Who Gets Fibromyalgia?
Overwhelmingly, sufferers are women. This may be one of the reasons that the condition receives so much ire, given the fact that women’s pain is overlooked in a way that male pain rarely is.
The condition can emerge at any age and usually lasts for the rest of someone’s life. It is not necessarily degenerative in nature but, without proper treatment and management, can become increasingly disabling.
Why Is It Important To Learn About Fibromyalgia?
You may be wondering why all of the above is necessary to discuss.
First and foremost, many people have fibromyalgia without even knowing it. They know their body is frequently in pain, but they attribute it to stress, their workout regime, or other factors. They may even have visited their doctor and been told they are perfectly healthy after testing. Given there is no strict test for fibromyalgia, it’s incredibly easy to miss, sentencing sufferers to years of not understanding what’s wrong with them. The more that the awareness profile of the condition is raised, the more people currently suffering in silence will be able to get the help they need.
Secondly, so much incorrect information is spread about fibromyalgia that it’s important that there is noise in the opposite – accurate – direction. Fibromyalgia management isn’t just about making sure you live healthily and everything else will fall into place; it’s a real condition, that causes real problems – but which also has real solutions that can make life better for any sufferer. Knowledge is power!