A guide for Fibromyalgia awareness


There is little information about Fibromyalgia, by both the medical world and those suffering from this debilitating illness. 2% -5 % of the population report suffering from fibromyalgia. No treatment plan is the same, and each patient has unique and individual needs. A holistic approach is the best way forward. While the cause is uncertain, treatment is possible.


What is Fibromyalgia?

Those who lack insight into the disease cast judgment on it. Patients are frequently misdiagnosed as some medical practitioners fail to recognise it as a disease. All patients want is to be treated with kindness and understanding.


  • Increased pain sensitivity 
  • Widespread muscular and nerve pain
  • Stiffness and aches and pains in joints.
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep and fatigue
  • Issues with mental functions, such as trouble concentrating or memory (dubbed “fibro-fog” of “brain fog”)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 
  • Feelings of anxiety, or depression.
  • Migraines
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and other stimuli.

Treatment options

  • Physical exercise such as low-impact activities. Swimming, walking and gentle stretching provide support. 
  • Meditative movement therapies, mindfulness-based stress reduction. Yoga, acupuncture and hydrotherapy can promote mindfulness and relaxation. They can improve flexibility and balance.
  • Psychotherapy can help with the psychological aspects of living with a chronic illness.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps with better coping strategies for limiting pain.
  • Medication such as analgesics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants can help with improving moods and sleep.
  • Multimodal rehabilitation by applying a few of these techniques will aid in the patient’s overall well-being.

Due to the controversial nature of the illness and the stigma that surrounds it, patients are met with scepticism. It is too often, 5 years down the line before any treatment plan is made available. Medical aids do not cover this illness and any tests that are required by doctors are covered at the patient’s own expense. Let’s continue to educate people about Fibromyalgia and kindness to those who suffer. Those with Fibromyalgia need to work closely with a healthcare professional to come up with a treatment plan suited to them.

Some helpful links : 

The South African Holistic Website

Dr Neeta Patel

South African Society of Psychiatrists

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