Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that causes you to suffer from pain, stiffness and fatigue for no clear reason. The symptoms often develop when people are between 25 and 40 years old and it’s especially women who suffer from this illness. About two per cent of adults has this disease, which can influence somebody’s life quite intensely. This is how you recognise the symptoms.
Fibromyalgia literally means “pain in connective tissue and muscles”.
Fibromyalgia consists of a combination of health issues. Two people who both suffer from this disease can, therefore, experience very different symptoms. The severity of the symptoms can also vary. The pain can temporarily subside or become worse. Yet there’s definitely a couple of obvious similarities in fibromyalgia patients. These are the most common symptoms:
Nearly everyone who suffers from fibromyalgia suffers from muscle pain or joint pain. This can be a nagging, stabbing or burning pain. It often starts in the back, shoulders or neck. The pain can gradually spread to other parts of the body.
The symptom of fatigue occurs in pretty much every fibromyalgia patient.
A common symptom of fibromyalgia is feeling very stiff when you’ve spent a long time in a certain position. Especially in the morning, when you’re getting up, you might be experiencing this. During the day, you might have trouble getting up out of a chair.
4. Sleeping problems
The pain might wake you up during the night, which causes you to sleep a lot less soundly. It might also be that you lie awake worrying about the decline of your body.
5. Sensitivity to temperature changes
For a lot of people, the issues get worse when there are changes in temperature. Cold weather is often seen as the culprit, but there are also people who experience more pain when the weather gets warmer.
6. Concentration problems
A lot of people with fibromyalgia get concentration issues. This is partly a result of the fatigue.
7. Intestinal problems
Some patients experience intestinal problems that are very similar to the symptoms connected to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). You can suffer from diarrhoea one day and have problems with constipation and cramps the next. It’s often completely unclear why your bowel acts this way, or when you will experience the problems.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness which means it’s not something that goes away again. There aren’t any medicines (yet) to treat this illness with, so you’ll need to reduce the symptoms in different ways. It’s very important to find a good balance between rest and exercise. There are several types of therapy that can help with this, like ergotherapy, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy. Although you’ll never be able to heal fibromyalgia, it is possible to reduce the symptoms or even cause them to stay away temporarily.