A West Kelowna mother is speaking out about her daily struggle with fibromyalgia, just ahead of World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day this Sunday.
“I deal with a chronic pain condition, a lot of people don’t know about because it is an invisible condition that causes pain in your muscles, stiffness and pain in your joints,” said Shandra Smith. “I’m an artist, mother and wife and some days I have very limited energy to do the things I need to do and others I will be okay.”
Smith said researchers think it is something in the brain that amplifies the pain signal in the brain. She said it can be difficult to open doors and walking up stairs.
“I have had a few instances where people didn’t understand and got angry with me for walking slow or having to press the button to open the door because I couldn’t myself. This is an invisible disease so most people don’t know what’s wrong and that is why I want to draw awareness of fibromyalgia,” Smith said.
Fibromyalgia syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue. Some of the symptoms chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management.
Smith said she is on Lyrica for the pain, but she tries to stick with natural pain relievers and changes to her lifestyle to deal with the aches.