What Impact Does Fibromyalgia Have on Everyday Life

The main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain with the feeling of “sore everywhere”. Accentuated by efforts, cold, humidity, emotions or lack of sleep, pain manifests itself in different forms: articular, muscular, tendon, neurological. Fibromyalgia is associated with intense pains that are both diffuse, the location of which can change for the same person, and permanent, even if their intensity can change over time.

Other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, impatience, cognitive difficulties, psychological disturbances or functional disorders can progress and vary from one person to another.

The number of people with fibromyalgia is not precisely known. “According to some estimates, the disease affects 2% of the European population.”, Chronic pain is the best known symptom but not the only one identified since the Fibromyalgia SOS association has listed more than a hundred: lack of concentration, toothache, facial pain, restless leg syndrome, dyspareunia, stiffness …

These are all symptoms that can lead to a real decrease in their ability to perform the activities of daily living. Their family and social relationships, as well as their relationship to work, are thus undeniably impacted. But medical follow-up helps people to live better with this disease and teach them to adopt lifestyle changes, essential to improve their daily lives.

This is in particular by affirming that “the patient must know that he is the main actor in improving his condition and that the miracle treatment does not exist. He can regain his autonomy thanks to personal management, including drug treatment and adequate physical rehabilitation. ” Because if the diagnosis of the disease turns out to be complex, it is known that its treatment must be multidisciplinary.

Impact in the workplace

The ability to work in people with FM is controversial because it is difficult to reconcile the subjective relationship of functional disability with someone who “appears rather” in good health. In the United States, up to 35% of patients with FM receive disability benefits.

On the one hand, employers must develop and implement support practices that promote the recovery, return to work and retention of workers who have been absent for health reasons such as FM. Accommodation can be made during the return to work process or at any time if the employee requires work changes due to a disability.

When someone is more severely affected, they should include periods of rest at work, which is not always compatible with the level of business productivity. However, a doctor could help these people. to continue working by assigning limitations related to certain activities which would make their case worse. In addition, it can sometimes be useful to inform colleagues of work of his state of health in order to avoid judgments.

Although the majority of people continue to be employed, sometimes temporary stop may be necessary. It is recommended to check with your employer benefits offered by the company. Other organizations can compensate for loss of income like employment insurance or sometimes even private insurance.

Since the origin of the syndrome cannot be determined (unless it is the consequence of another disease), its symptoms can only be relieved. Simple analgesics (such as paracetamol) are used, anti-inflammatory drugs and, as background therapy, very low doses of antidepressants. Cognitive and behavioral therapies also provide benefits, as does physiotherapy or occupational therapy. The care is multidisciplinary and requires considering the patient as a whole.

The important thing, he said, is “to stay active and move,” while walking or doing endurance exercises. One can also take hot baths, do thermal cures and practice all activities which relax because, “associated with exercises, they can help”.

In any case, you should not hesitate to consult a doctor “when the symptoms begin to disrupt your daily activities,” advises the specialist in chronic pain. Because, it is important to repeat, fibromyalgia is not a fictitious disease.