Hidden and unexplained: feeling the pain of fibromyalgia
For some people, waking up every day means the start of persistent pain that affects their mood, thinking and relationships. This experience is more difficult when the pain doesn’t seem to have a cause; at least not a visible one.
That’s the reality for people with fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterised by pain and muscle tenderness throughout the body where even the slightest touch can be sensitive. Sufferers often have other health issues, including sleep difficulties and fatigue.
For a long time, fibromyalgia was thought of as a medical mystery. Technological advancement has allowed us to look closer. Today, it is a recognised disorder, part of a group of chronic pain syndromes described as central nervous system disorders.
The condition affects more than four times as many women as it does men. With as many as 2-5% of the developed world living with fibromyalgia, it is far from uncommon. Yet targeted and effective treatment options aren’t available for the condition. And compared to fibromyalgia’s impact, this area of research remains highly underfunded.