Invisible Suffering: Fibromyalgia

September 9 2016

Jacqueline Rosenhek


Fibromyalgia is a physical disorder that is classified as an invisible illness. An invisible illness is a medical condition that has no outwardly visible symptoms, or at least no obvious ones, but can still have physical, mental and emotional symptoms.  There are a few theories on what can cause fibromyalgia, but experts still have not found a reason for why it exists or why some people have it. Some of the theories include fibromyalgia being the result of a lack of serotonin thus causing abnormal pain reception in the body, inadequate blood flow to the muscles, a possible after effect from certain types of autoimmune disorders like Lupus, repeated physical trauma, problems in the central nervous system or even the end result of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The fact that fibromyalgia is an invisible illness means that there is still a lot to discover about it since invisible illnesses were only brought to the world’s attention recently and their legitimacy is still being debated, fortunately, awareness is being raised and more people are starting to realize that just because you don’t physically see an illness, it does not mean it is not there.

The challenge with fibromyalgia is that while no one can really see the symptoms for it, they can actually be quite overwhelming. The fact that there are still many people who are willing to dispute the existence of an invisible illness can make it very difficult and even lonely for those suffering from one. For those of you who do not know, or those of you wondering if you have fibromyalgia, here are the symptoms:

  • Chronic unprovoked pain throughout the body
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Muscle and joint stiffness
  • Extreme tactile sensitivity
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Digestive problems
  • Vision problems
  • Depression and anxiety

While fibromyalgia is still being researched, there are some natural solutions that can help to alleviate the symptoms. Doing yoga regularly helps by strengthening and relaxing the muscles and preventing spasms while helping to reduce anxiety and depression. Eating a diet rich in amino acids (chicken, pumpkin, potatoes, and seaweed) and magnesium (raw spinach, squash, soy beans, and brown rice) will help to nourish the muscles and the nerves. If you are a coffee drinker, it would probably be a good idea to switch over to green tea. The caffeine will help with keeping focused but the L-Theanine in the green tea will prevent any excessive stimulation in the body. A natural supplement that has proven to be quite useful is 5-htp. 5-htp is a chemical that is found in the body that comes from the amino acid tryptophan which can be found in food. The 5-htp helps to reproduce serotonin levels in the brain and can also help reduce headaches and pain in the muscles as well. It would also be a good idea to speak to a professional or to find possibly a support group for those who suffer from invisible illnesses; surrounding yourself with people who not only acknowledge and try to understand your pain but can actually relate to it can be really helpful in many ways. Invisible illnesses are not only difficult to live with, but for many people, they are difficult to understand as well. Hopefully with research and time, people will have more respect and a much better understanding of invisible illnesses.

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