Monday, May 12, 2014

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! What the heck is that???

Today is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.  

For those of you that don't know what it is & are interested in learning a little about it...Here I go to the best of my ability

 Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disease that affects the nervous system.  The best way I have found to describe it is that basically your entire nervous system goes into overdrive and becomes hypersensitive.  So much so that even the touch of fabric upon the skin can cause great pain.  It is not fully understood nor is there a cure at this time.   It can present differently in each individual person but most people that have fibro have had some sort of physical trauma in the past, be it a  car accident, chemotherapy or abuse to name a few.  

There are numerous symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia. . Its characteristics include widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue, as well as other symptoms. Fibromyalgia can lead to depression and social isolation.Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it difficult for them to sleep or exercise. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include:

Abdominal pain
Chronic headaches
Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
Inability to concentrate (called "fibro fog")
Incontinence
Irritable bowel syndrome
Numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
Stiffness


The disease can range from mild to severe and everything in between.  Some people are fine most of the time unless they are having a flare while others(like me) find that the symptoms never go away but sometimes are a little less than others.  

Treatment for the disease can include one or any combination of all of the following:  Medication, lifestyle changes, medical marijuana, gentle exercise, alternative therapies, massage therapy and/or physical therapy.

Results vary by patient just as the disease varies by each patient.  

People don't always know what to say or what they can do if they know someone and/or are friends with someone who has fibromyalgia.  The best advice I can give is to treat them as you would want to be treated(as you should always anyway throughout life).  Don't judge. Be kind.  Be a true friend.  Be open to the information that is readily available to learn more about the disease.  Don't forget that they are still the same person you always knew....they just may not be able to do the things they did before.  Be patient with them, in most cases, their entire lives have changed and their bodies have betrayed them. And last but not least, ask them what they need or want.

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about a not fully understood disease.   Please share this ...you never know who you may be helping.  A little awareness can go a long way!  :)