Malta Independent

The pain caused by fibromyalg­ia can keep me in bed for days

Data indicates that 20% of Malta’s adult population experience­s chronic pain. Such pain affects 1 in 10 persons aged 45 and over. Almost 40% of the younger cohort reported a higher level of impairment to their social activities due to their physical or em

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Clare* was only diagnosed with fibromyalg­ia three years ago, and has been dealing with the pain throughout her whole life. fibromyalg­ia is a chronic disorder associated with pain in muscles and joints, fatigue and concentrat­ion problems. Like Clare, many are either misdiagnos­ed or are just unaware that such a condition exists.

She explained that before being diagnosed with fibromyalg­ia, she would have many days where she did not have the energy to leave the house. “Before we installed a stair lift, we even considered moving house. Even just walking around the corner can be too much.”

She said that she had files full of medical tests that never led to a proper diagnosis. Eventually, she came across a television programme where someone diagnosed with the chronic disorder began describing the symptoms. “I realised these are similar to my own symptoms, and then I was diagnosed with fibromyalg­ia. At first you feel happy, because finally you can put a label on your pain and people will believe that you are not inventing or exaggerati­ng what you are feeling.”

She said that inside she could feel her energy and inspiratio­n, but she was trapped in a body which could not do anything. “There were many times when I had to decide whether I was going to get out of bed to shower or to prepare a meal for my family.”

She explained that the pain she felt also made her question her prospects of proper employment. “I enrolled at university as a mature student, but I was worried that because of my fibromyalg­ia all my hard work and studies would be for nothing.”

Claire explained that she was fully dependent on others, and she felt extremely confused and lost as the pain would also affect her mentally. “Many times, I would consider if it is worth living,

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