What is Fibromyalgia and Why Does it Matter?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves pain in the muscles and skeleton and can be accompanied by fatigue, memory complications and mood issues. People that have researched fibromyalgia have found that it amplifies painful sensations that affect the way your brain and your spinal-cord process both painful and non-painful signals. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are often felt after an event. These events could be surgical, or complications with a surgery, or the results of a physical trauma and psychological stress.
However, this is not the case with all people diagnosed with the condition. Sometimes, symptoms of Fibromyalgia gradually build up over time, without a single triggering event. It has also been found that women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Much like in the case of brain injury claims in the UK, it is possible to claim compensation for fibromyalgia if a sufferer meets the necessary criteria and finds an appropriate solicitor to assist.
Why Does It Happen?
Researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation can cause the brain and the spinal cord of fibromyalgia patients to change in some way. This change can involve an abnormal increase in the levels of different chemicals that live in the brain. These are chemicals that signal pain. Additionally, the receptors in the brain seem as if they develop a memory of the pain and thus become sensitised to it. This leads to an overreaction of the pain.
People suffering with fibromyalgia could’ve had the condition brought on due to an already prevalent psychological situation. This means that someone that is diagnosed with fibromyalgia might already be dealing with things like anxiety and depression, which only get exacerbated by the symptoms of fibromyalgia. To balance a work and social life whilst living with this condition provides a great challenge to people.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
There are several symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some of them are more prevalent than others though.
The most common symptoms are:
- Widespread Pain – The pain associated with fibromyalgia is often described as a dull ache that is constantly present and has lasted for at least three months. The pain and sensations must affect both sides of your body and above and below your waist
- Fatigue – People with fibromyalgia often wake up feeling incredibly tired, despite reporting that they had deep sleep for extended periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by the pain they feel, and lots of patients with fibromyalgia also report having other sleep disorders as well, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea
- Cognitive Difficulties –This particular symptom is commonly referred to as “fibro fog.” Fibro fog impairs the person’s ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks. This can make working a particular challenge, not least when it’s paired with the horrible fatigue and muscle aches
Fibromyalgia though can present itself with other conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Migraine and other types of headaches
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
Is There a Cure?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia yet. However, a variety of medications can help to control the symptoms. Someone with fibromyalgia might find some respite by doing exercise (as intense or as light as the person can handle), relaxing the muscles where they can and by doing stress reducing activities to help the brain unwind. Fibromyalgia can be a frustrating thing to live with and ensuring a good work-life balance can really help improve the morale and emotional well-being of patients with the condition.