Fibromyalgia - An Invisible Illness

May 10, 2017

"My pain is invisible, so is the pain you inflict when you don’t believe me." This quote, shared by Fibromyalgia News Today was well received by its readers, who claimed it very accurately reflected their daily struggles.

May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines fibromyalgia as “a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue. People with fibromyalgia have pain and tenderness throughout the body. “ Symptoms include trouble sleeping, stiffness, headaches, tingling or numbness in the extremities and trouble thinking or remembering.

Fibromyalgia can be hard to diagnosis. Doctors often struggle to assign biomedical meaning to something that can defy that logic, as people experience pain that does not show up with a cause on diagnostic tests. Some scientists think genes that could make a person react strongly to things that other people would not find painful cause fibromyalgia. Others believe it is caused by incidents such as car accidents or repetitive injuries. People with other diseases, such as lupus or arthritis, may be more likely to have fibromyalgia.

Despite its invisible nature, scientists can see that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older.  Doctors may prescribe anticonvulsants, antidepressants, pain relievers and sleep aids to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Patients are also encouraged to get enough sleep, have a healthy diet, and participate in exercises like swimming.