Fibromyalgia Association UK
WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?
The pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning, often described as head to toe. It may be worse at some times than at others. It may also change location, usually becoming more severe in parts of the body that are used most.
The fatigue ranges from feeling tired, to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness. It may come and go and people can suddenly feel drained of all energy – as if someone just “pulled the plug”.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (fibromyalgia for short) is a common illness. In fact, it is as common as rheumatoid arthritis and can even be more painful. People with mild to moderate cases of fibromyalgia are usually able to live a normal life, given the appropriate treatment. If symptoms are severe, however, people may not be able to hold down a paying job or enjoy much of a social life.
The name fibromyalgia is made up from “fibro” for fibrous tissues such as tendons and ligaments; “my” indicating muscles; and “algia” meaning pain.
A Collection of Symptoms
Besides pain and fatigue fibromyalgia symptoms often include –
- unrefreshing sleep – waking up tired and stiff
- headaches – ranging from ordinary types to migraine
- irritable bowel – frequent diarrhoea or constipation, sometimes accompanied by gas in the abdomen or nausea
- cognitive disturbances including lack of concentration and word mix up
- clumsiness and dizziness
- sensitivity to changes in the weather and to noise, bright lights, smoke and other environmental factors
Fibromyalgia is not new, but for most of the last century it was difficult to diagnose. Part of the problem has been that the condition could not be identified in the standard laboratory tests or x-rays. Moreover, many of its signs and symptoms are found in other conditions as well – especially in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia often develops after some sort of trauma that seems to act as a trigger, such as a fall or car accident, a viral infection, childbirth, an operation or an emotional event. Sometimes the condition begins without any obvious trigger. The actual cause of fibromyalgia has not yet been found.
Where to Get More Information
Fibromyalgia Association UK offers a range of support and information including:
- National Helpline
- Benefits Helpline
- Complimentary information booklets for doctors and other professionals
- Books and videos
- Monthly magazine
- Contacts with legal specialists
- Local support group and helpline contact
The Fibromyalgia Association is run by volunteers, most of whom have fibromyalgia.
Their main aims are:
- To make people aware of fibromyalgia and its affects: to the public at large and to the health professionals that are responsible for diagnosing and treating people with the condition.
- To support people with fibromyalgia through contact with support groups and others with the condition.
- To lobby for more effective, available treatment.
Fibromyalgia Association UK
PO Box 206
National Helpline 0845 3452322 10am – 4pm weekdays
Benefits Helpline 0845 3452343 Monday and Friday 10am – 4pm
Fax 01384 895005
Please support the charity by donating or signing the petition below. Helpful products for people who suffer from the illness are also available by clicking the yellow awareness ribbon. Thank you.