Living with Fibromyalgia
After experiencing ongoing pain in my neck, consultants requested MRI scans in 2015. The investigation concluded that I had Syringomyelia, a rare disorder in which a fluid-filled cyst forms within your spinal cord. Follow up scans also identified the onset of spine disease and Cervical Spondylosis (arthritis in my neck).
Despite taking strong prescribed painkillers such as Tramadol, Pregabalin, as well as Paracetamol, the pain was still unbearable at times. I was then referred to the Pain Management Clinic at Birmingham’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital who diagnosed Fibromyalgia (FMS). As a result, I was prescribed Amitriptyline to take at night, with physiotherapy scheduled two times a week.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic debilitating and often humiliating disability that affects 2.1 million people – that’s one in 20 people. However, it’s the lack of awareness that causes much frustration.
As well as a heightened sensitivity to pain, headaches and extreme muscle stiffness, you struggle to sleep (insomnia) due to the illness. You experience extreme fatigue, often wiping you out for days.
Besides pain and fatigue, cognitive dysfunction known as ‘fibro-fog’ causes increased forgetfulness, which heightens my Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It’ a vicious circle.
Darren said: “I often leave the tap running, or forgot what someone had just said.
“The pain is constant but flare-ups make it more unbearable. I personally wake up every morning and just dread getting out of bed. My body is screaming out in pain, and I am bent over like a frail elderly man because every muscle in my body is in constant pain“.
In 2013, Morgan Freeman spoke out about his personal struggles with Fibromyalgia, describing the pain as “Excruciating”. More recently, Lady Gaga cancelled her European Tour because of “severe physical pain that has impacted her ability to perform”.
Darren added, “Fibromyalgia limits the small things that you used to be able to do. Things like bending down to play with your kids, doing your shoes up, cuddling up to your wife, or just taking a walk without stopping every 30 metres”.
For more information visit Fibromyalgia Action UK.