By self-managing fibromyalgia pain and controlling daily stress, most people with fibromyalgia can do almost anything they choose.
--By Dr Gaurav Raj Dhakal
Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and soft tissues of the body. You may experience muscle pain, feeling of tiredness, disturbances in sleep and painful spots in the body. Your muscles may feel like they have been overworked or pulled even though you haven't exercised. Sometimes, your muscles will twitch. Other times, they will burn or ache with deep stabbing pain. Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in their neck, shoulders, back, and hips. This kind of pain makes sleep or exercise difficult.
Patients with fibromyalgia may be affected by any of the following symptoms:
•Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, or tightness
•Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
•Insomnia or waking-up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
•Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
•Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks ("fibro fog")
•Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
•Tension or migraine headaches
•Jaw and facial tenderness
•Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odour, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold
•Feeling anxious or depressed
•Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
•Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
•Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise
•A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet
Many people with fibromyalgia continue to work full or part time. But the chronic pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia often make working very difficult. If you are employed, it's important to learn about managing fibromyalgia symptoms and coping with pain and fatigue. In addition, if you have tried different jobs and are unable to work, you might consider applying for disability. Disability may be difficult to get because of rules about work capacity.
By self-managing fibromyalgia pain and controlling daily stress, most people with fibromyalgia can do almost anything they choose. Unless you have physical pain that's directly work-related, you should be able to make simple modifications to your workplace that allow you to continue working.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms related to fibromyalgia, it is important that you consult your physician and take proper guidance and medications.
The author is a spine surgeon and has established a Spine Clinic at Norvic International Hospital. He is a recipient of the ASSI Clinical Spine Fellowship (Park Clinic, Kolkata), AO Spine Fellowship (University of Toyama, Japan) and SRS GOP Educational Scholarship (Lyon, France).