People who have Fibromyalgia, or know someone who does, may be aware that Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is coming up on 12 May this year, but many of us won’t even be aware of this debilitating condition, let alone know how to effectively manage the symptoms. As part of his own awareness raising campaign, local Hypnotherapist Matthew Cahill is focusing this month on helping people understand more about how Hypnotherapy can help individuals suffering from Fibromyalgia, which causes misery for those who suffer with it. So what is Fibromyalgia? The word itself is derived from pain (algia) coming from the muscles (my) and fibrous tissues (fibro) such as tendons and ligaments, but most people with Fibromyalgia also have other symptoms in addition to the pain, therefore, Fibromyalgia is sometimes called Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). It is a chronic (persistent) condition. It does not affect the joints because it is not an arthritis. Matthew Cahill says: “Fibromyalgia affects a surprisingly high number of people – about 1 in 50 of us develop Fibromyalgia at some stage, and it is seven times more common in women than in men. In most cases, it first develops between the ages of 25 and 55.There are many symptoms, but the main ones are pains felt in many areas of the body, and tiredness, but some people also develop other symptoms as well. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person and pain can occur in any area of the body.” Many areas of the body are typically affected, with some people feeling the pain all over. The most painful areas are usually the neck and back, and the severity of the pain can vary from day to day. Things like stress, cold or activity can make the pains worse. After a night’s sleep, people may also feel quite stiff for a few hours and some areas of the body may also be quite tender. Tiredness (fatigue) is common, and is sometimes severe; for some people it is more distressing than the pain itself. It is also common to have a poor sleep pattern, with some people waking up feeling exhausted. Many people feel worse first thing in the morning, but improve by the afternoon. Even a small amount of activity may cause the sufferer to feel very tired which may lead to poor concentration. Matthew explains, “Because of the kinds of symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia, Hypnotherapy can be really very helpful in dealing with the effects of it – but many people aren’t aware of this. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a modern, research-based combination of Psychotherapy and Hypnosis, aimed at encouraging clients to focus on how they want things to be. Many Fibromyalgia sufferers attribute reduction in their symptoms to receiving Hypnotherapy, which can help to alleviate or limit their pain symptoms and increase their energy and comfort level. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the USA showed that Fibromyalgia sufferers undergoing Hypnotherapy reported 80% fewer pain symptoms than those who received no Hypnotherapy treatment, and also reported decreased muscle pain and morning fatigue and fewer sleep difficulties, which really helps them on a day to day basis. That’s great isn’t it? It means that there is more help available than purely relying on painkillers or just ‘putting up with it’. We do get some great results and it’s certainly something to consider when deciding on treatment and support options.” For more information on Fibromyalgia, go to www.ukfibromyalgia.com
Matthew Cahill is the author of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide. He is the founder of The Observatory Practice which is a full time busy practice. In 2006 he was Awarded “Outstanding Contribution to the Hypnotherapy Profession”. He is also Chair for the United Kingdom Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations (UKCHO) which is the government advisory board for hypnotherapy organisations.