Are you a parent with Fibromyalgia?

What is fibromyalgia syndrome?

FMS (fibromyalgia (fi-bro-my-Al-juh) syndrome) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues in the body. It is a disease of silent warriors. It can be particularly difficult if you are a parent with Fibromyalgia, due to the daily challenges of chores and family life.

Symptoms of FibromyalgiaAre you a parent with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is an invisible disease with a myriad of health problems that are always changing. The one constant of fibromyalgia is the inconsistency. One minute you’ll have sharp, stabbing pain in your hips, the next you’ll have a dull burning ache in your shoulders. Your digestive system betrays you. Foods trigger flares, you’re sensitive to noises, smells and lights. You experience pain in every part of your body and your emotions course with anxiety, fear, anger and depression. You are constantly exhausted. Its debilitating symptoms include extreme tiredness, muscle aches, difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Headaches and bloating are also common.

It is not a disease which is easy for others to see

Sufferers often keep to themselves because they need peace and quiet to heal during a flare and because they often don’t have understanding from those around them.

The cause of Fibromyalgia

No one knows what causes FMS. There is probably some disorder in the way pain is processed in the brain of people with the condition. And there is a cycle in which pain makes you depressed and anxious and this makes the experience of pain worse. Sceptics may say “it’s all in the mind” but all pain is processed in the brain; so that sort of disparaging and dismissive remark makes no sense. There is some suggestion that FMS is more common among people who have suffered from physical, emotional and sexual abuse in childhood. The evidence is weak, but this is an area that needs more study.

How do you know if you are a parent with fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia family support - Are you a parent with Fibromyalgia?First, it is important to see your GP. Since symptoms are similar to other conditions (such as arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis) it is a case of eliminating those in order to form the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. There are no physical changes seen in fibromyalgia so if joints are (for example) red, hot or swollen, another diagnosis is suggested. There are no changes seen on blood tests or scans so these are used to eliminate other conditions where changes are seen. A GP with specialist knowledge can give the diagnosis but usually they will refer to a rheumatologist for confirmation. It is important to recognise that other conditions can co-exist, such as depression, anxiety, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome etc.

What medical support is available for you?

Your life is not over, there are plenty of ways to manage fibromyalgia, but it is important to get the right support. Depending on the specific symptoms, an individual will need input from a variety of specialists including:

    • Rheumatologist – a specialist in muscle and joint conditions.
    • Psychologist – a specialist in how the mind and body work together.
    • Neurologist – a specialist of the nervous system.
    • Physiotherapist – a specialist using physical methods of treatment such as heat, massage and exercise It is common for medication to be the first port of call.

How can I help my family when I am so debilitated? 

It can be difficult to conduct your usually daily chores around the home and it can hard for your family to cope both emotionally and physically. This is where Grant-A-Smile can help you. We can clean your family home, which will help take some of the stress away for you and your family. And as a special treat, we will also grant your child’s wish which will help put a smile on their face!

Please contact us at Grant-A-Smile for more information.

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