Can You Lose the Ability to Walk with Fibromyalgia?

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Written By The Bimblers

Rob and Bridget - The Bimblers are two of the UK's most influential chronic illness and accessible travel bloggers. They live by the mantra Life is an adventure; let's make it accessible.

You can lose the ability to walk with Fibromyalgia.

Most of the time, this is temporary and brought on by a Fibromyalgia flare. But it’s no less frightening when it happens.

In this post, I’ll discuss the impact of Fibromyalgia on your mobility, including how it can affect muscles and joints and examples of how this can impact daily activities. 

I’ll also talk about treatments for mobility issues caused by Fibromyalgia and the importance of seeking treatment and support. 

Whether you’re living with Fibromyalgia or know someone who is, this post will provide valuable information on managing the condition and improving your quality of life.

Before I talk about Fibromyalgia and mobility, let’s recap what Fibromyalgia is and its symptoms.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles, joints and tendons. 

Symptoms can also include fatigue, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. 

The cause of Fibromyalgia is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the abnormal processing of pain signals in the brain. 

The condition is more common in women and usually starts between 30 and 50. Men (me) do get diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but I think it’s underreported.

There is no known cure for Fibromyalgia, but treatment can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Common and Uncommon Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Common symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles, joints and tendons.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Difficulty concentrating or “fibro fog.”
  • Headaches.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Depression and anxiety.

Less common symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia include:

  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and temperature changes.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Dry eyes and mouth.
  • Allergies or chemical sensitivities.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
  • Weakness in the muscles.
  • Irritable bladder and painful urination.

Fibromyalgia symptoms can vary significantly from person to person and may also change over time. Some people only experience a few symptoms, while others cannot walk because of them.

How Can Fibromyalgia Affect Your Muscles and Joints?

Fibromyalgia can affect muscles and joints in a variety of ways. 

The most common symptom is widespread pain and tenderness, which can be severe and debilitating. Your pain can be felt in various body parts, including the neck, back, shoulders, hips, and limbs. 

People and I describe the pain as a dull ache, a burning sensation, or a shooting pain.

People with Fibromyalgia may also experience stiffness in their muscles and joints, especially in the morning or after sitting for an extended period. 

This stiffness can make it challenging to move around and do everyday things.

Fibromyalgia can also cause muscle weakness, making it harder to lift and carry objects, climb stairs, or do other things requiring strength. Weaknesses like this can also make it more likely to fall or to experience injuries.

Fibromyalgia can also cause your muscles to become fatigued quickly, leading to decreased mobility and difficulty walking.

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can also make it harder to sleep, leading to fatigue and worsening symptoms.

Fibromyalgia affects everyone differently; some may have more severe symptoms than others. 

It’s also important to know that Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, and the symptoms can be managed but not cured.

My Favourite Fibromyalgia Resource is: FMA UK – UK’s National Charity for Fibromyalgia

How Fibromyalgia Can Impact Your Mobility

Fibromyalgia can impact your mobility in various ways, including:

Difficulty walking or standing for long periods: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to walk or stand for long periods making it hard to complete daily activities such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

Limited range of motion: 

Fibromyalgia can cause stiffness and pain in your joints, making it hard to move them through their full range of motion, which limits you from doing simple tasks like reaching for something on a high shelf or bending down to tie your shoelaces.

Difficulty climbing stairs: 

The muscle weakness and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to climb stairs and access certain parts of your home or work environment.

Difficulty performing daily tasks: 

The pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to get dressed, bathe, and deal with your personal care.

Difficulty exercising: 

Fibromyalgia can cause fatigue, pain, and muscle weakness, making it hard to engage in regular physical activity leading to decreased overall fitness and mobility.

Difficulty working: 

Fibromyalgia makes it hard to do any tasks requiring physical activity, making it hard to work in specific jobs. I know from experience that this leads to difficulties in maintaining employment and financial stability.

These are only examples, as Fibromyalgia impacts mobility differently in each person. Thankfully, most people experience mild mobility issues.

What Can You Do About Mobility Issues Caused by Fibromyalgia?

Several treatments can help you manage your mobility issues, including:

Medication: 

Different types of medication are used to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. 

Pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications help control pain and improve sleep.

Note: Seek medical advice before using medication.

Exercise: 

Regular exercise can help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. I’ll be honest; exercise doesn’t work for me.

A physiotherapist or an exercise therapist can help you create a personalised exercise plan that is safe for you to do.

Physiotherapy: 

Physiotherapy can help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion, helping to improve mobility and reduce pain. 

A trained physiotherapist can also teach exercises to improve posture, balance, and coordination.

Occupational therapy: 

An occupational therapist can help to improve your mobility. They can show you how to use mobility aids like walking sticks and rollators and teach you strategies for coping with pain and fatigue.

Massage: 

Massage is supposed to help to relax your muscles and reduce pain. I’ve never had a massage, so I don’t know how effective this is.

Acupuncture and other complementary therapies: 

Acupuncture and other alternative therapies can help reduce pain and improve sleep and mood.

Again, I get enough needles, so I haven’t tried this either.

Counselling and Psychotherapy: 

Fibromyalgia can cause emotional distress; counselling or psychotherapy can help individuals cope with the illness’s emotional impact.

It’s important to note that these treatments may not work the same for everyone, and some people may require a combination of treatments to manage their symptoms. 

Work closely with your healthcare team to determine the best treatment for your needs.

How Do Mobility Issues Caused by Fibromyalgia Affect Your Daily Living?

Mobility issues caused by Fibromyalgia can affect daily activities in various ways.

These activities are not specifically about walking, but you do have to walk to do most of them.

Difficulty with self-care: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to bathe, dress, and groom yourself.

Difficulty with household tasks: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

Difficulty with leisure activities: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to participate in leisure activities such as sports, hobbies, and social events.

Difficulty with driving and using public transport: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to drive or use public transport.

Difficulty with shopping: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to go shopping, especially trying to walk around supermarkets.

Fibromyalgia Can Impact Your Work and Social Life.

Fibromyalgia can impact work and social life in a variety of ways, including:

Difficulty working: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to do things that require physical activity making it hard to do specific jobs.

Difficulty with working hours:

The pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to sustain a full-time job, leading to a reduced working schedule.

Difficulty with concentration and memory: 

Fibromyalgia can also affect your cognitive function, known as “fibro fog”, making it hard to concentrate, remember things, and perform mental tasks.

Difficulty with socialising:

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to participate in leisure activities such as sports, hobbies, and social events, leading to isolation and loneliness.

Difficulty with self-esteem and self-worth: 

Chronic pain and fatigue can affect your self-esteem and self-worth, leading to depression, anxiety and other emotional distress.

Difficulty with maintaining relationships: 

The pain and stiffness associated with Fibromyalgia can make it hard to maintain relationships, as it can be hard to participate in social events, or sometimes even having a conversation can be difficult.

How You Can Help Yourself

Seeking treatment and support is essential when you’re living with Fibromyalgia for several reasons:

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can’t be cured, but your symptoms can be managed. Consider some or all of the treatments I mentioned previously in this post.

Mobility issues caused by Fibromyalgia can prevent you from doing daily activities and your overall quality of life. Treatment options such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

Fibromyalgia can cause emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety. Counselling or psychotherapy can help you cope with Fibromyalgia’s emotional impact.

Seeking treatment and support can help you manage symptoms, help maintain employment and financial stability, and can help to improve your ability to participate in leisure activities and social events.

Living with Fibromyalgia can be challenging, and seeking support from others can be beneficial. Joining a support group or talking to a counsellor can provide a sense of community and a safe space to discuss the challenges of living with Fibromyalgia.

What Did We Learn: Can You Lose the Ability to Walk with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can severely impact your mobility.

The pain, stiffness and fatigue that come with Fibromyalgia can limit or, in the worst-case scenario, cause you to lose your ability to walk. 

However, the mentioned treatments can help you manage your symptoms and improve your mobility. 

I know how frustrating it is living with Fibromyalgia. 

My mobility has been affected over the last year to the point I’ve had spells using a wheelchair.

My advice is to hang in there, seek help when you need it, accept help when it’s offered and do whatever it takes to protect your mobility.

Fibromyalgia Stories

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