My Family’s Experience With Fibromyalgia
You might be thinking: “What? How can you already have fibromyalgia when you’re still so young?”. Well, let me tell you a story of why we’re talking about the stages of fibromyalgia in the first place.
Around the time when I was in grade school, my dad started having strange symptoms of fatigue. It wasn’t the normal type of just exhaustion.
What my dad felt was described as “unexplainable muscle pain” throughout the body. Every morning, he had terrible headaches and stiff joints. He clearly wasn’t overworking or anything. And he used to be a very active guy who seemed to have all the energy in the world.
We waited a few days to see if it would get better… But it just seemed to get worse. Even when my dad was clearly trying to rest as much as he could, his body showed no sign of feeling better. He couldn’t sleep too well with the pain, and this kept on for about a month or so until we got really worried.
What confused us was that apart from the aching, there were no other indications of what could have been the cause. We thought it was kind of like influenza symptoms with body pain. However, tests from the hospitals showed that influenza wasn’t the case, either. It was as baffling as when I had that weird cold water feeling in my head out of nowhere!
It was very stressful for my dad and our family members. As positive of a guy as my dad was, he obviously couldn’t stay tolerated forever. And as a family, we also wanted him to be healthy and well.
During a visit to the hospital, a doctor suggested that fibromyalgia might be the case, but they had to run some diagnosis to make sure. So my dad took the doctor’s words and got the needed tests, and the diagnosis turned out to be true.
What is Fibromyalgia? How To Detect Early Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia?
From my dad’s case, it’s clear that fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, resulting in fatigue and mental distress. You can also say that people with fibromyalgia are very sensitive to pain – meaning their pain perception process is not performing normally.
This condition 6 times more likely to affect women than men, and it’s a surprisingly common condition. Some celebrities also talked about their battle with fibromyalgia. You can check out what Lady Gaga said about her chronic pain and fibromyalgia in her documentary.
There has been no confirmed cause to the syndrome, since the reason behind it might vary. But there are possible factors such as stress, trauma, or physical injuries.
Some common signs, and stages of fibromyalgia that a person with fibromyalgia might be displaying:
- Pain all over the body
- Joint and muscle stiffness
- Fatigue and sleep problems
- Mental distress such as anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
- Have a hard time concentrating
According to the NHS UK, to diagnose fibromyalgia, there are certain criteria that must be met, and these are the most common ones:
- Severe pain in 3 to 6 different areas of your body, or you have milder pain in 7 or more different areas
- Symptoms have persisted and stayed the same for at least 3 months
- No other health problem present that can explain the symptoms
The Stages Of Fibromyalgia
There are still many undiscovered aspects of fibromyalgia, even for doctors. But what we do know is that genetics can also cause fibromyalgia. For example, if it does run in the family, then I might bear a chance of having fibromyalgia from my dad (hypothetically, since we haven’t been able to confirm this yet).
Therefore, some people who do have the genes may already be in the beginning stages of fibromyalgia. Although present, it doesn’t cause any pain to the patient yet.
The second fibromyalgia stage happens when a patient starts experiencing pain in a few body parts. The aching starts mildly, and most people would just assume that it’s just regular muscle pain. The symptoms weren’t clear enough so people don’t know that they’re having fibromyalgia. They often don’t consult their doctors right away either. Only a few experienced physicians might be able to recognize fibromyalgia at this point.
The patient will go into the third stage when they suffer from severe pain in specific areas of the body, not generalized pain anymore. This will start causing fatigue and loss of sleep. At this stage, doctors can diagnose fibromyalgia.
During the fourth stage, the patient continues to experience pain, but now it has spread to more areas. Their fatigue would get worse, and they might begin going through mental distress. At this stage doctor diagnosed my dad with fibromyalgia . So fortunately he didn’t suffer from any severe health effect.
During the last stages of fibromyalgia – which are the fifth and sixth stages, the patient’s body will meet with separate health problems. These complications arise with association to fibromyalgia. In the fifth stage, these problems are addressed and treated separately from fibromyalgia. However, when the patient enters the last stage, they become coexisting diseases. These include:
- Severe mental illness
- Various joint and muscle related problems
So in total, there are 6 stages of fibromyalfia that the patient might go through. Although not many people can detect fibromyalgia right away, knowing this may help prevent associated diseases that can come with the condition.
Helping Someone With Fibromyalgia
From what our doctor consulted with our family, there is no foolproof cure or 100% effective medicine for fibromyalgia. But don’t feel discouraged just yet – we still have different types of aid that can sooth the pain.
It might sound weird telling a person with fibromyalgia to exercise more, yet it’s actually a good way to improve the body’s condition. Some aerobic or muscle exercise can be a good treatment. Doctor advised my dad to try walking regularly. Doing yoga and breathing exercises also helps manage stress better.
You can always go for physical remedies as well if your pain can’t seem to be relieved with just prescribed drugs. Ask your doctor for a treatment plan that includes other supplementary therapies, like chiropractic care or acupuncture.
Finally, your diet can play a big role in fibromyalgia treatment. Try cutting down gluten to see if it has any changes to your condition, since gluten sensitivity might be a cause. On the other hand, increase the amount of low-sugar power food that provides you with energy. Avocados, different nuts and oatmeal can energize you all day. Maintaining a balanced diet can help boost metabolism, thus counter body fatigue.
This has been a very interesting study for me. Though I fortunately don’t have fibromyalgia, I can still use the information to support my dad’s treatment. And luckily, it does show positive results! So I really hope I can help anyone out there who is having fibromyalgia or knows someone with the condition.
Leave a comment if you have any further questions. I’d love to hear you out!