Imagine hurting all over, every day, with no end in sight. Couple that with a physical exhaustion that never completely subsides, not even with adequate sleep and rest. Add in insomnia, brain fog and depression.
The worst part - there's no cure.
Sufferers of fibromyalgia don't have to imagine that nightmare. They live it. Daily.
The chronic pain syndrome, which manifests itself by widespread muscle pain, results from a chemical imbalance in the brain, causing sufferers to perceive pain differently than the average person, said Dr. Neal Shparago, a Jackson rheumatologist of 15 years.
"There are many physicians who do not believe fibromyalgia exists," he said. "I believe it exists and try to treat it - sometimes successfully and sometimes not."
Stress, sleep deprivation and traumas are triggers of fibromyalgia. It is a common malady, said Shparago, who has seen an increase in the number of patients diagnosed in recent years. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are basically one and the same, according to Shparago.
|Chinika Hughes-Hood walks along the water near the Canebrake subdivision in Hattiesburg, Miss. The stay-at-home mom suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome. 'I'm in pain from sunup to sundown,' she says. Stress, sleep deprivation and traumas are triggers of fibromyalgia.