Many in the medical community are arriving at the conclusion that fibromyalgia is a “real” condition though this hasn’t always been the case. As an accumulated body evidence to support this theory came to light in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the condition’s existence became more readily accepted. Although chronic widespread body pain used to be its defining feature, we now understand through newer published diagnostic criteria that other symptoms may be involved including headaches, trouble sleeping, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and even mood disorders.
While a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) can relieve some stress over unknowns and help to determine a direction for a more comfortable life, the ongoing symptoms as well as the stigma associated with chronic pain and fatigue can be isolating.
Sufferers often face the problem of being labeled as “over-sensitive.” As it turns out, this may be true, but at no fault of the individual. The greatest steps toward being understood, or to understand, can be made through sharing knowledge about current conclusions regarding the disorder. With understanding comes acknowledgement and support.
The current thinking is that FMS is not rooted in any basic structural problem, nor is it autoimmune in nature. There appears to be no damage or inflammation or evidence of structures breaking down. Instead, it seems the problem lies in the way that the body’s central nervous system is picking up and relaying pain signals. Symptoms often arise or worsen following trauma, whether physical or emotional.
It can be a long road to rule out other health issues that can cause similar symptoms and determine a diagnosis of FMS. However, once arrived, things level off and a greater focus on self-care can be utilized to manage symptoms by attending to a multidisciplinary program of medicine, body and mind.
Possibly the most helpful ingredient is the understanding that comes from both oneself and family and friends that accept, rather than discount the existence of pain that is experienced with this disorder. To accomplish this understanding, we must take the time to learn what may be taking place.
When a person is in pain, whether it is physical pain or emotional pain, it has very real effects on a person and their ability to function. Since there is no way to experience the pain another being may be feeling, as with all things, it is best to err on the side of patience and understanding.
Please note: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.