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Living with Fibromyalgia: The Challenges of Coping with Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Pain of the joints concept as skeleton and muscle anatomy of the body with a group of sore joints as a painful injury, Fibromyalgia or arthritis illness symbol for health care and medical symptoms with 3D illustration elements.

to later in life when the damage has already done or enhanced other medical conditionImagine running a marathon and straining every muscle and nerve in your body at the same time. Every movement, from walking, eating and yes even sleeping becomes excruciating. Welcome to the life of someone who has fibromyalgia and is experiencing a flare up.

Every movement becomes almost impossible yet remaining still causes the flare up to worsen. What normal people do by taking a pain reliever to ease the discomfort, a person who has fibromyalgia can only dream of. Because not enough is known about the disease little to no concrete cures are available to the sufferer. So, we are left to pay the gambling game between pain relievers and anti-inflammatory.

If any other condition exists on top of this, such as arthritis, or migraines, which is very common, life becomes almost impossible to deal with. Usually when one symptom arises it enhances the other health issues. This means constantly living in a vicious circle of pain.

Imagine going to bed at night and not being able to sleep longer than 2 to 3 hours at a stretch because your body aches so much that the pain forces you to get up and move to release it. Lack of proper sleep does not allow your body to recoup from the day and prepare for the next day ahead.

Because these diseases are not visible, the person suffers in silence most of the time, so that the stigma of being lazy or a hypochondriac affects all social and work-related situations. Fibromyalgia is also rarely recognized as a chronic and debilitating condition so getting funds or adequate sick time from work becomes hard to nearly impossible.

This condition can affect anyone at any age. Getting properly diagnosed early is key but usually does not happens.

Doctor doing physical examination on older man

Because fibromyalgia is a disease that affects your nerves. How do you explain to anyone, even a doctor that every nerve and muscle hurts but with no reason as to why. Usually someone asks where it hurts? What did you do? If you could pinpoint one area show me where it hurts... there is no answer to give without sounding crazy. Many people believe the condition does not even exist. This leaves us to suffer in silence. Without any resources, therapy, or medication that alleviates the symptoms completely, or at least tolerable, we feel very negative about what the future will hold. We live through life knowing the pain will only get worse.

All of these factors make life with fibromyalgia a difficult and isolating experience. Even getting a proper diagnosis can be a challenge, with many sufferers going years without answers or explanations for their symptoms. And because fibromyalgia affects the nerves and muscles in the body, it can be difficult to explain to others just how much pain and discomfort it causes.

Despite these challenges, people with fibromyalgia continue to persevere, often seeking out alternative therapies and treatments to manage their symptoms. With more awareness and support, there is hope that those with fibromyalgia will one day be able to manage their pain and live full and fulfilling lives.

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