Fibromyalgia symptoms differ from person to person and in their severity. In addition to generating discomfort in various bodily regions, the illness can impair memory and focus.
Ailments like fibromyalgia, often known as fibromyalgia syndrome, cause pain all over the body. Other symptoms common in fibromyalgia patients include mood or memory issues, excessive weariness, or difficulty sleeping.
More women than men suffer from fibromyalgia. Your ability to work or carry out daily tasks may be hampered by the pain, excessive fatigue, and lack of sleep that fibromyalgia produces. Both pain relief and symptom flare-up prevention are possible with treatment.
Patients also express signs of exhaustion, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and unrefreshing sleep. Muscle stiffness, headaches, and other physical and mental side effects could also be present.
Many patients, we discover, may also experience anxiety and sadness. Some patients complain of pelvic and abdominal pain, while others describe uncomfortable and painful periods.
These symptoms cause discomfort and can negatively impact well-being and quality of life. Individuals with fibromyalgia may present differently than others. The illness most commonly affects women, especially those between the ages of thirty and fifty, while it can also affect individuals under sixty and those over sixty.
Fibromyalgia is an extremely complicated disease that causes persistent and widespread pain in men and women. In both the US and Canada, it is estimated that approximately 2% of adults are suffering from this condition. Fibromyalgia disproportionately affects women, as 80% to 90% of fibromyalgia patients are women. Although most people suffering from fibromyalgia are between the ages of 20 and 50, the condition can also affect teenagers and children.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is complicated because, in many instances, there is no real cause behind the condition. Symptoms just show up unannounced and with no underlying reason. In addition, doctors have trouble diagnosing the condition, so many patients suffer for weeks or months with no idea why.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Symptoms of this condition vary from one person to the next, and changes on an hourly or daily basis. But overall, this condition causes full-body pains and fatigue, to the point of exhaustion, frustration, depression, and loss of meaning in life.
Impact of Fibromyalgia on Mental Health and Life
The influence on the quality of life can vary depending on the variety of symptoms that individuals may experience. While some people may find the anxiety and sleep disturbance to be the most problematic, others may have greater issues with the actual intensity of pain.
Some patients claim that having severe headaches makes it extremely difficult for them to carry out particular chores and go about their daily lives. Cognitive impairment, often known as fibro-fog, affects memory and speech and can influence daily functioning.
The effects of fibromyalgia on a person’s quality of life can change depending on their symptoms. However, it is evident that, generally speaking, fibromyalgia patients tend to be less able to engage in physical activity and that sleep disruption has a significant impact on their functional performance.
My top objective as a pain specialist is enhancing the patient’s quality of life by assisting them in managing their pain and achieving their highest level of performance.
10 ways that fibromyalgia affects your life
Below are 10 ways in which fibromyalgia impacts daily living based on responses from current fibromyalgia patients.
1. Difficulty maintaining energy levels throughout the day
With fibromyalgia, patients need to carefully balance out their daily activities and pay attention to how much energy is expended every day. Imagine an average person with a daily to-do list of 10 items. With fibromyalgia, you may only be able to accomplish 4 of these tasks before running out of energy. If fibromyalgia patients overexert themselves on any single day, they may not have any energy for the next 2-3 days.
2. Often feeling extreme fatigue
Imagine staying up for 48 hours without any sleep, then trying to read the most boring book you can think of. This type of fatigue is felt regularly by fibromyalgia patients because good sleep is almost non-existent. People suffering from fibromyalgia are in constant pain, even during sleep, which makes it difficult for them to obtain quality, deep sleep on a consistent basis.
3. The body is extremely sensitive to pain sensations
Since fibromyalgia affects the central nervous system, the body’s sensitivity to pain is amplified. Patients often describe the sensation of an electrical shooting pain that occurs constantly through the day. This type of pain is said to show up randomly, affecting patients during work, meetings and dinner outings. Over time, this becomes a major inconvenience, particularly when the shocking pains show up in the middle of an important event.
4. Unexpected flares throughout the day; severely impacts your job and career
When pain symptoms temporarily increase in number or intensity, it is called a flare or flare-up. With fibromyalgia, you never know when you will have a flare day. Flares make it impossible to commute to work and sit at a desk all day. Fibromyalgia patients call in sick twice a month due to flares. Sometimes for 2-3 days consecutively. This puts a significant toll on their employment relationships, reduces career advancement opportunities and can even result in termination.
5. Doctors struggle with diagnosing fibromyalgia
Despite advancements in our medical diagnostic systems, fibromyalgia remains a mysterious disease. People can’t seem to figure out why it occurs or how it can be treated. Many doctors are still unfamiliar with the condition that getting a proper diagnosis can take weeks or even months. Patients are frequently told by the doctor that there’s nothing wrong with them and are sent home without a referral or suggestion of how to get a proper diagnosis.
6. Muscle soreness – especially in the mornings
People with fibromyalgia experience extreme muscle soreness, particularly in the mornings. Imagine running a full marathon without any training or practice, the soreness you may feel the next morning is what fibromyalgia patients feel most mornings. That same sore feeling continues throughout most of the day, with or without pain medication.
7. Body is horrible at regulating temperature
With fibromyalgia, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature normally. Patients are usually freezing in the winter, and overheating in the summer. There’s never a happy medium for fibromyalgia patients.
8. Sudden changes in state of body; resulting in many broken promises
In the morning you felt great and decided to make dinner plans with your friend. By the evening, however, you are feeling horrible and in so much pain that you cannot stand up properly. You cancel on your friend for the fifth time this month. Even though friends and family know about your condition, they can’t fully understand how you feel. After several broken promises, some friends and families will stop making plans with you. This is, unfortunately, the reality for so many fibromyalgia patients.
9. Nobody can understand your situation except for you (and your pets)
Fibromyalgia patients find themselves spending a lot of time alone. During weeknights, weekends or even long weekends and holidays. When pain becomes too difficult to bear, staying home alone with pets can be the only viable option. Pets don’t judge, are entertaining to be around, and reminds you that you’re not alone.
10. Living with “fibro fog” – suddenly feel disoriented or confused throughout the day
One of the most debilitating symptoms of fibro is known as “fibro fog.” Patients describe this as living in a “fog of confusion”, where they forget even the most basic parts of their daily lives. At work, they may forget deadlines by a few weeks or suddenly leave meetings halfway through without any explanation. At home, they may leave their keys in the fridge or forget what year it is. Everything becomes so disoriented that they may even forget how to get home.
Is There a Cure?
The best way to explain fibromyalgia is as a treatable condition. The best results for patients can be achieved by combining pain management, physical therapy, and psychological counseling.
There are many different types of medications that, when used properly, can aid in managing pain, reducing muscular stiffness, and improving sleep quality. Antidepressants are effective painkillers and sleep aids, albeit they are not always used to treat depression.
These drugs can benefit the patient, but they also have adverse effects. Exercises with little impacts, like swimming and walking, can also help with symptoms. Patients can profit significantly from using this method of self-management.
A clearer understanding of the issues fibromyalgia causes will enable people to speak out for their right to prompt and adequate pain management, advocate for their health, and communicate openly with their medical professionals.
Controlling fibromyalgia, assisting patients in achieving their goals, and improving their condition can all be accomplished with high-quality, multidisciplinary care and patient education.
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