“But you don’t look sick.” What’s it like living with fibromyalgia?

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“But you don’t look sick.”

This phrase is something Jo Allen hears a lot, as do many people with fibromyalgia. People with the condition often look completely healthy, but are in near-constant pain.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that has a broad spectrum of related symptoms including fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and reduced physical function. Its nickname is ‘the invisible illness’.

The number of people who suffer from fibromyalgia in Ireland is not known but more than 10 million people in Europe have been diagnosed with it. The HSE notes that about one in 20 people are affected by the condition globally. It’s more common among women than men http://jrnl.ie/3334489f

As fibromyalgia has symptoms that could be put down to other issues, it is often misdiagnosed. Its exact cause is unknown and treatment for it can include various types of medication, including painkillers and antidepressants.

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