Fibromyalgia was recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992. Today, fibromyalgia affects 4% of the population, and almost 90% are women.
Fibromyalgia is considered an “invisible disease” because it affects all the soft parts of the musculoskeletal system and cannot be easily diagnosed through medical tests.
Indeed, fibromyalgia is not visible, does not leave traces on the skin or produce wounds that others could see. It is a lonely, despairing pain.
Suffering from fibromyalgia is something very hard: I don’t know in what state I will wake up today, if I will be able to move, if I will be able to laugh or if I will only want to cry… What I know , on the other hand, it’s that I’m not pretending: I suffer from a chronic illness.
To date, we still do not know the etiology of this disease. However, what we know is that year after year, more and more people are being diagnosed, hence the fact that we are currently trying to intervene in the most comprehensive way possible, which logically includes the bio-psycho-social aspect.
That’s why, in this article, we want to give you some basic rules so that you can face the disease with strength, and improve your quality of life as much as possible.
Fibromyalgia: the real disease that cannot be seen
When a person can’t get out of bed because they feel “burning needles” stuck in their joints, they aren’t faking it, nor are they looking for an excuse not to go to work.
Those who suffer from fibromyalgia must overcome their own disease in social incomprehension , and the feeling of feeling invisible in a world that only believes what it sees.
The main problem with FM (fibromyalgia) is controversy; it is not known whether its origin is psychological or mechanical.
These would be the main conclusions that the experts tell us:
Possible origin of fibromyalgia
First, it is necessary to know that it has never been scientifically proven that fibromyalgia could be linked to a psychiatric illness.
- According to some authors, about 47% of patients suffer from anxiety. However, it is also necessary to take into account the fact that this psychological dimension can be a response of the pain itself, of the disease itself.
- According to a study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology , those who suffer from fibromyalgia experience greater hypersensitivity to daily sensory stimulation.
- Using MRI, the researchers discovered that when faced with visual, tactile, olfactory or auditory stimulation, the brain’s sensory integration regions suffer from greater overstimulation than usual.
- People with fibromyalgia have a greater number of sensory nerve fibers in their blood vessels , so any stimulation or change in temperature drifts into intense pain.
Something to consider is that any emotional factor can increase the sensation of pain in these nerve fibers.
A momentary situation of stress will lead to over-stimulation and pain, and in turn, the feeling of pain and chronic fatigue will lead the patient to lack of defense or even depression .
We then fall into a vicious circle where a disease of mechanical origin is accentuated by the psychological factor. This is why it is worth controlling the emotional dimension, in order to attenuate, or at least “control” the etiological origin.
Psychological strategies to cope with fibromylagia
Chronic pain is part of our social reality, fibromylagia (FM) being one of the main causes.
Now that we know that factors such as stress or sadness can increase the feeling of suffering, it is important to introduce some basic coping strategies that can help us.
Today, you got up, you got dressed, and you were able to go out into the street. No one will notice your victories, but these small successes are important to you and should give you strength: you can be stronger than the disease.
5 keys to enjoying a better quality of life
First of all, we must not forget that not everyone will be sensitive to the same strategies.
You have to find the ones that are suitable, in accordance with your particularity and your needs.
So, test several, and choose yourself the ones that will soothe you the most.
- Understand your disease: this involves being in contact with specialists, doctors and psychologists. Multidisciplinary treatments are needed, and each of them will allow you to know this disease better and to “understand” your enemy. This way you will be more confident and knowledgeable.
- Establish a positive attitude in your life: we know that it is not easy, but rather than reacting to the pain, it is better to accept it and deal with it; don’t get depressed. Do not hesitate to talk with people who suffer from the same thing as you, do not isolate yourself, and do not hold grudges within you towards those around you.
- Find attitudes that allow you to face stress and anxiety: there are quite adequate relaxation techniques that can help you. Yoga, for example, can also be very beneficial.
- Never lose control of your life, don’t let pain dominate you: for this, establish daily moments of leisure, however small they may be. Go out for a walk and don’t avoid social contact.
- Take care of your emotions, your thoughts and your language: what you think and what you feel has a direct influence on the disease. If people say things like “I won’t be able to get up”, “this problem has no solution” or “I have no more strength”, you will accentuate your suffering.