Fibromyalgia symptoms tend to be experienced by the sufferer between the ages of 20 and 60, though the condition is more common with increasing age.
It’s a long-term chronic disorder, but its exact cause is unknown.
The condition causes widespread pain in the body, but discomfort can vary depending on the person.
The pain may be worse at some times than others, and can feel like a deep ache in your muscles, like a burning or throbbing, or intense, persistent pain.
Alongside widespread pain, extreme sensitivity, fatigue, and poor sleep quality, someone with fibromyalgia may experience stiffness, particularly when they first wake up in the morning.
The NHS Choices website states: “The stiffness may be most severe when you’ve been in the same position for a long period of time.
“It can also cause your muscles to spasm, which is when they contract (squeeze) tightly and painfully.”
So is fibromyalgia classed as a disability, meaning your eligible for benefits?
According to Fibromyalgia Syndrome, fibromyalgia can be identified as a disability and Personal Independence Payment may apply to you.
Like Disability Living Allowance, the benefit is given to individuals who cannot work and find it difficult to cope by themselves. It is then split into three levels and each level is representative of the nature of the condition.
The site explains: “In order to qualify you must complete a medical assessment which is carried out by an independent doctor once your application has been received and processed.
“This examination will determine whether or not the information you have provided in your application is correct and will also assess at what level you may qualify for assistance.”
But, fibromyalgia can affect people in different ways, and is a difficult illness to diagnose, meaning it may take some time before your doctor reaches a diagnosis.
The site adds: “You should expect a lengthy wait as – although Personal Independence Payment does cover this illness – there are more rigorous assessments to undergo before agreement is reached.”
In the meantime, what can you do to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Because the condition can also make you feel tired and worn out, exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to treat fibromyalgia, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Many doctors recommend an exercise and fitness programme as the first line of treatment for fibromyalgia.
But even if your doctor prescribes medication for your condition it is important to stay active.
Research shows that 12 weeks of moderate aerobic training, combined with strength training can improve your pain and overall well-being, says the Cochrane Library.