Despite how common it is, Fibromyalgia is often miscategorised or misunderstood. Learn more about the symptoms associated with this disease and how medical cannabis for fibromyalgia might be able to help you manage them.
Fibromyalgia is categorized as a chronic, long-term illness. It causes joint pain and fatigue, along with severe all-over muscle pain. Medical experts still have no conclusion on what causes the condition, although certain factors such as stress and genetics may predispose someone towards it. Although there isn’t a cure, medications, lifestyle changes and other therapies offer a way to manage the pain.
Some researchers also think that fibromyalgia is caused by an issue in the way the spinal cord and brain of a fibromyalgia sufferer processes pain, but the reality is, we don’t yet know what actually causes this condition. Though it has been confirmed it is also more common in people who have other conditions such as lupus, arthritis, depression and anxiety. There are many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia including:
Pain is the definitive symptom of fibromyalgia, but it can present itself in different ways and in different parts of the body. Some afflicted experience a sharp stabbing pain in specific areas, while others suffer from a lasting deep ache. Fibromyalgia pain can be localized to one or more areas of the body, or it can seem to affect almost all areas at once.
2. Muscle Stiffness
Fibromyalgia can also cause feelings of stiffness in muscles. People with fibromyalgia develop muscle stiffness for no immediately apparent reason, unlike normal muscle stiffness which generally happens due to overuse or strenuous exercise. This stiffness can be generalize throughout the body, or it might affect one or more specific areas. Some people with this condition say their muscle stiffness is worse after periods of extended sitting still, or first thing in the morning.
3. Difficulty resting or sleeping
Fibromyalgia causes a persistent bodily exhaustion that is not able to be fixed by regular sleep, it often causes feelings of fogginess and disorientation that can contribute to depressive episodes. Fatigue is among the most characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia, affecting four out of every five people who have it. Fibromyalgia can also be a root cause for a number of sleeping disorders, which can make the patients already suffering with extreme exhaustion have even more trouble finding a way to rest.
Symptoms and overlapping sleep disorders include:
- Light or regularly broken sleep
- Sleep starts (jerking awake)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
4. Sensitivity to Touch
There are two kinds of touch sensitivity that affect patients suffering from Fibromyalgia, they are called hyperesthesia, which means that you have increased sensitivity to the sensory input and hyperalgesia which is an increase in pain sensation, meaning a small injury may feel intensely painful. Both of these conditions obviously make it more difficult to complete regular day to day tasks, or to relax effectively.
5. Environmental Sensitivity
There is a link between this and touch sensitivity, but it’s where this sensitivity is also affected by general environmental influences, even ones that seem minor to most other people. Such symptoms usually involve the patient’s senses of smell, sound, and sight. For example, a person with fibromyalgia may be extremely sensitive to strong coffee or the smell of petrol.
Fibromyalgia often coexists with other conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Migraine and other types of headaches
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Joint disorders
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
6. Trouble focussing aka Fibro-Fog
One of the most common and most unpleasant symptoms of fibromyalgia is the almost cotton wool-like feeling inside the sufferer’s head, it makes it very hard to concentrate, find words, hold conversations, and sometimes form coherent thoughts. You find yourself misplacing important things, or forgetting about appointments or other commitments.
The fibro-fog has been described as feeling like you have always just awoken from a nap, you might feel lost and confused like your brain is still half asleep. Many also say that the fog actually impacts their lives more than the pain, tenderness and fatigue.
Although there’s still no known cure for fibromyalgia, there are some things you can do to help try and manage the symptoms.
Activities such as meditation, massage, exercise and good sleeping habits have all been shown to help manage the condition. Medical cannabis for fibromyalgia has also been shown to help provide some relief to sufferers, though it is worth noting that what works well for one patient may not work at all for another, as always your best bet is to seek professional advice from a CBD doctor either online or in person to discuss both your eligibility for medical cannabis and how it might help you.