Sufferers of fibromyalgia still, to this day, have to fight a battle on two fronts. One of those is dealing with the condition which can be incredibly debilitating but the other is dealing with the lack of understanding from other people. Invisible conditions like this often receive little sympathy and too many sufferers get told that it is all in their mind and they should just get over it. Thankfully, a very brave and very famous pop star has brought the realities of the condition to light in a Netflix documentary about her life. So, what is fibromyalgia, how did it make the fabulous Lady Gaga cancel some of her concerts and what treatment options are there?
The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
One of the reasons fibromyalgia is so misunderstood is because it affects people in completely different ways. Generally, it is a chronic pain syndrome where the muscles and deep tissues become very tender and sore. The list of additional symptoms goes on and on but some very debilitating ones include severe fatigue, poor sleep and ‘fibro-fog’ which is a feeling of brain lethargy. Any of these symptoms alone are enough to make life difficult for sufferers but many experience any number of them at different times or all at once.
The Possible Triggers of Fibromyalgia
Lady Gaga sustained a broken hip during a concert three years before the documentary was made and doctors believe this is likely to have triggered the condition. Many patients have experienced a physically traumatic event, have recovered well but then found that the pain they suffered seemed to travel into other parts of the body. Other evidence points to their being a genetic factor involved in some cases too.The Emotional Side of the Condition
Emotional trauma can also be a factor in triggering fibromyalgia or making it flare up. Lady Gaga was sexually abused as a child and other sufferers have had similar experiences. She also reports that the symptoms worsen when she has undergone a period of psychological stress. It may be this psychological element, plus, sadly, the fact that it primarily affects women, which means it is often not taken seriously even by the medical profession. As there is no blood test or scan which can conclusively prove someone has the condition, it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition but many patients find that it clears up spontaneously after a number of years. There are ways to alleviate the symptoms, however, and these include traditional pain relief methods, exercises and a number of alternative therapies. Floatation therapy has produced some excellent results in fibromyalgia sufferers who have found it dramatically reduces their pain. It is likely to be so effective because floating relieves stress in the mind and in the body. Being able to float free from gravity and outside stimulation means the body can relax completely and the mind can take a break from ceaseless chatter. As much of the pain from fibromyalgia comes from very tight stiff muscles, the relaxation effect of the floatation tank is very good for easing that pain.
Thanks to Lady Gaga, the openness of other sufferers and extensive research, there is a greater and wider understanding of fibromyalgia than there was in the past and, hopefully, this will result in more sufferers getting the support they need. Seeing Lady Gaga suffer from her symptoms may help people feel less isolated in having the condition and, hopefully, let them know that it doesn’t have to stop them being a pop star or succeeding in their field of choice. For anyone suffering from fibromyalgia or anyone who knows anyone who is suffering from it in the Brighton and Hove area, you can contact the Float Spa to discuss how floating might alleviate the symptoms or give it a try by booking here.