If you’ve never suffered from Fibromyalgia Disorder it can be exceptionally difficult to empathize with anyone who is suffering from this chronic pain disorder. Fibromyalgia is generally characterized by severe muscle pain, tenderness, and fatigue, but it is difficult to diagnose. Issues with memory, sleep, and mood are common side effects. Researchers currently believe this widespread pain disorder develops as a result of overactive nerves in the body. (1, 2)
Fibromyalgia Disorder – Does It Feel Different For Different People?
Essentially, an overactive nervous system amplifies painful sensations throughout the body, causing severe pain in apparently needless scenarios–such as a handshake, a gust of wind, or clothes moving against skin. It is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, causing discomfort in well over 5 million men and women in the United States alone. Here are 16 ways to imagine what Fibromyalgia Disorder feels like (1, 2):
- Fibromyalgia is a very specific kind of pain. It’s chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness, making it entirely unique from many other common pains like headaches, sprained ankles, or bruises.
- Imagine you’re suffering from the worst pain and fatigue you’ve ever experienced in your life and your head is in a deep, sleepy fog. Imagine going to the hospital to get treatment, but them finding nothing wrong. Now imagine yourself feeling this pain every day, wanting to go to the hospital, but knowing they will send you home because they can’t find anything wrong.
- Picture yourself waking up after a long night of sleep still feeling exhausted. Imagine trying to muster the strength to sit up, to stand, to walk to the bathroom, all while being utterly unable to muster the strength to move. Even the smallest tasks feel like walking through waist-high concrete.
- While normal pain only tends to last a little while depending on the injury, imagine pain that lasts at least 3 months for no apparent reason, usually longer. Imagine feeling this pain for years at a time without knowing why. Imagine constant, continual, interrupted pain without any diagnosis.
- You know how you feel when you get the flu? Tired, achy, with painful muscles? That’s what Fibromyalgia Disorder feels like on a good day. If you imagine the worst flu you’ve ever endured, picture yourself falling down three flights of stairs, and then falling into an active beehive, then that’s Fibromyalgia Disorder on a normal day.
- Picture a phone that won’t charge beyond 45% and you don’t know why. You keep trying to charge it, you close all your apps, you use it as little as possible hoping to get it up to 100% but it never happens. Instead, the battery life drops. This is what it’s like to suffer from Fibromyalgia Disorder.
- There is pain felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of your body randomly, or it can be felt in specific areas such as the shoulders or neck. The smallest amount of pressure or contact in these sensitive areas causes a great amount of pain.
- It’s like being in a bad car accident, not sleeping for days, and never getting over the pains and exhaustion caused by either. It’s complete exhaustion where normal activities cause severe pain without the benefit of a rest or sleep.
- When you were younger, did you ever touch a battery to your tongue when someone dared you to? Having a Fibromyalgia Disorder episode is like feeling that pain for a constant hour or so before any of your pain medication starts working.
- You know the day after your complete a strenuous workout and you have to get through your day with stiff, sore, poorly working muscles? Add in sunburn, a headache, the flu, and then you’ve got Fibromyalgia Disorder.
- We’ve all had Charlie horses or muscle cramps in muscles we didn’t know existed before. Fibromyalgia Disorder is like that, pulling out pain from places you didn’t know you had.
- When you go out to eat, imagine squirming around painfully because the seat hurts your back, but there’s no real reason for it to be painful.
- The pain can become so severe that you feel nauseous, and even feel like vomiting. It’s difficult to eat, sleep, think, or do “normal” things because your senses are so off. It feels similar to how noise sounds inside a cave, with echoes and hollowness.
- You’re sensitive to practically everything, like certain smells, light, noise, and motion. Anything can bring on abundant pain.
- Some days it feels like you were hit by a truck while other days it feels like a million needles are sticking into your body and twisting randomly.
- You expect to see bruises, markes, or redness on your body since it hurts and aches so badly, but there is never such evidence. Sometimes you wish there was this evidence so people took you seriously.
Feeling Fibromyalgia Disorder
In order to understand Fibromyalgia Disorder, it’s important to understand that the pain can be unique to each person. It can range from mild to debilitating, and it can also change, both frequently and rapidly, throughout a single day. It also tends to cause memory issues, sleep problems, and exhaustion even if a person has been bedridden all day. If you know anyone suffering from Fibromyalgia Disorder, give them some extra slack and make sure to take their pain seriously! (1, 4)