4 September 2017
Guest blog by Emma (Mdaisy) from the Fibromyalgia Action UK community at HealthUnlocked.
It is estimated that there may be over 3 million people living with fibromyalgia in the UK alone, between 2.9 and 4.7% of the population worldwide, despite this awareness for this debilitating condition remains low. This week is the UK’s National Awareness for fibromyalgia 3 – 10 of September.
Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness characterised by chronic widespread pain and debilitating fatigue among other symptoms including unrefreshing sleep, joint stiffness, dysautonomia, cognitive dysfunction (often referred to as Fibrofog), multi-chemical sensitivity, hyperalgesia, allodynia and bowel or bladder abnormalities. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown; however, it is thought that it’s onset may be due to a trauma of some description. This could be a viral episode, a bereavement, whiplash, trauma or a stressful experience. People living with fibromyalgia experience a painful response to pressure and can experience a heightened response to both painful and non-painful stimuli. Recent studies consider fibromyalgia to be most likely a Central Nervous System disorder relating to central pain sensitisation with researchers looking at Central Sensitisation syndrome among other avenues.
Living with fibromyalgia can provide its challenges especially if the diagnosis is secondary to a primary condition like: Hypermobility, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. However, it can be managed and many consider the best way to help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia is to use a holistic approach including medications, pain relief creams, complementary therapies, gentle exercise, pacing, hydrotherapy, relaxation techniques and a healthy diet.
Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be a lengthy process as there is currently no proven laboratory test and due to many other conditions displaying strikingly similar symptoms. Patients often live with depression, either as a precursor to fibromyalgia or most often due to living with the debilitating condition with little or no support from healthcare professionals, family or other support networks for years. HealthUnlocked provides a platform whereby those living with fibromyalgia can share their experiences in the hope it will help others in some way, whether newly diagnosed or a long-term sufferer and it is considered a valuable online support network.
Sharing information with others in the community and connecting people living with fibromyalgia directly with the national charity Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK) is also vitally important in the fight to raise awareness of fibromyalgia to the general population and healthcare professionals alike.
For details on how you can support the FMA UK Awareness Week (3 -10 September 2017) visit the Fibromyalgia Action UK community on HealthUnlocked.
You can also find out more about fibromyalgia or share your own experiences, on this Fibromyalgia Action UK community.
Thank you for supporting Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK), as together, the fibromyalgia community are fighting for freedom from fibromyalgia.