May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! Not a lot of people know about it, and there are a few research studies on it compared to other conditions. I haven’t encountered any NGO or organization that specifically spreads information about it here in the Philippines. As such, in the spirit of ~celebration~ and advocacy, I will list down some facts facts + my coping practices 🙂
- It is a chronic, non-progressive disorder that manifests through musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, memory, sleep, and mood issues
- There are a lot of co-morbid disorders that may come along with it including irritable bowel syndrome, depression, TMJ, and migraine
- Causes are not exactly known although researchers have pointed out these factors :
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Symptoms may vary from patient to patient. These include:
- Widespread pain
- Hyperalgesia or extreme sensitivity to pain
- Allodynia or triggering of pain response to usually/commonly not a painful stimuli
- Fibro-fog or memory issues
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Currently, there is no cure for it. What doctors primarily do is to manage the symptoms for patients to live life as less painful as possible.
- In the Philippines, it is also referred to as soft-tissue rheumatism.
- Avoid any triggers. I know fibro flares can sometimes spark without reason (hardyharhar, the human body is a mystery) but I notice that when I expose myself to some things, my chances of having flares go higher. And so, if I have the ability to avoid them altogether, I do.
- Always have to-do lists. My memory has been especially affected by the cognitive issues fibromyalgia causes. To manage this, I learned to write to-do lists everyday so the chances of forgetting/not getting a thing done is slimmer.
- Rest, rest, rest after a hectic day…or half-day. My family and friends know that I cannot go out and do a lot of activities like normal, healthy people can. So, after a hectic day, they let me retreat to my room and relax my aching body.
- EXERCISE. My physiatrist prescribed a list of exercises I can do to combat the stiffness and aching of my muscles. I cycle four and do some stretching four to five times a week.
- Use walking device when needed. I used to feel bad about having a cane and a walker but now, I understand that I need them when my body feels too weak to walk. No more self-pity.
Hope this post helps!
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, May 02). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20317796
NHS. (n.d.). Fibromyalgia – Symptoms. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
SY, D. G. (n.d.). Fibromyalgia (Soft-tissue rheumatism). Retrieved May 11, 2017, from http://www.pchrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/news/library-health-news/1366-fibromyalgia-soft-tissue-rheumatism