Even today, people seem to think that the chronic pain those diagnosed with fibromyalgia feel is all "in their head". And this needs to change.
Lady Gaga has certainly made waves with her musical genius. From hits like Poker Face and Bad Romance to singing Shallow with actor Bradley Cooper, she has amassed a fan base of millions of people around the world. A chart-topping singer and recently proving her immense talent as an actor in the movie A Star Is Born, she has the power to inspire people. And now, she is using her status and platform to let them know about a condition that affects nearly 10 million people, of which 75-90% are women — fibromyalgia.
According to Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Additionally, it is believed that this condition amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Some of the symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, and even brain fog.
The medical site also explains that the symptoms can sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress or in some cases, the symptoms can occur over time with no single triggering event. It can also be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms may come and go and there is no test to truly confirm it.
Also, according to Healthline, due to the symptoms being similar to those of other conditions, it can be hard to pinpoint it as fibromyalgia. It used to even be doubted whether the condition was real. However, as time progressed and there was more understanding of it, some of the stigma surrounding it seems to have eased. But not everyone might still understand what it means to live with fibromyalgia and the chronic pain that defines it.
In 2017, much to her fans' dismay, the pop singer had to cancel her European tour because of “severe physical pain that has impacted her ability to perform”, reports The Guardian. In essence, her fibromyalgia has forced her to stay off the stage for a while. And she wanted people to understand that the pain isn't a joke.
@ladygaga— @Pechilvr @WarOnFibro @FacesOfPain #OwnYourData (@pechilvr) December 7, 2019
Forced to Cancel 10 Shows Due to Fibromyalgia https://t.co/V4lDEskL9u
She even took to Twitter to discuss the kind of stigma those suffering from the same condition deal with.
"Patients with fibromyalgia have been met with a great deal of skepticism, stigma and even condescension, including by many physicians that are supposed to take care of them. Their pain is often dismissed as 'all in their head,' not real."— MyFibroTeam (@MyFibroTeam) December 5, 2019
Read more: https://t.co/LRmLihKz9W
The 33-year-old singer believes that her condition was triggered by sexual assault, and over time it was coupled with her touring and fame as a musician, which made the symptoms worse. "I get so irritated with people who don't believe fibromyalgia is real. For me, and I think for many others, it's really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result," she said to Vogue during her interview for the October 2018 issue, according to Allure. "People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke. And it's every day waking up not knowing how you're going to feel."
"The pain and disability seen in fibromyalgia is typically worse than almost any other chronic pain condition," explains Dr. Daniel Clauw, a professor of anesthesiology, medicine/rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan, according to WebMD. "[The pain] doesn't just affect one area of the body you can avoid moving, and often is accompanied by severe fatigue, sleep, memory and other issues."
In her 2017 Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, she highlights some of her health concerns, such as her fibromyalgia in an attempt to raise awareness and spur people to talk about it. As for the singer, she seemed to look forward to the future and said, "It’s getting better every day because now I have fantastic doctors who take care of me and are getting me show-ready," according to Med Page Today. And two years later, her battle hasn't stopped and it doesn't look like she will allow it to win.
Mayo Clinic also states that depending on the severity of your condition, physical therapy, medications, and certain lifestyle adjustments can help control the pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia as yet. If you find yourself suffering the symptoms of fibromyalgia, visit a doctor to have it confirmed in order to plan out treatment programs to make your life easier.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354785Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.