About Fibromyalgia Friends Together
Fibromyalgia Friends Together was first founded back in 2015,with the help of Shuttlewood Clarke Foundation, after the founder and chair himself, Mark Farmer, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and found little support was available to those with this condition. As of today, we have over 14,000 people following our work online with over 2,800 active members on our Facebook group, where discussions, support, and advice can be given to not only further understanding of fibromyalgia, but to help live with the condition too. This is reflected by the fact that we have GPs referring people to the group and have helped people over the country through a telephone helpline.
In addition, we host monthly face-to-face meetings, on the third Thursday of every month at The Shuttlewood Clarke Foundation, The Manor, Priory Lane, Ulverscroft, Markfield, Leicestershire, starting at 1:15pm and finishing at 3pm. These are well attended by both those with the condition and carers alike, where a variety of topics and subjects are covered, ranging from mindfulness to how to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The aim is to create and give others a safe space, where individuals can gather support, gain a better understanding, and learn to live with the condition itself.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and fatigue. It is considered a syndrome, which means it is a collection of symptoms that tend to occur together. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.
The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic, widespread pain that affects multiple areas of the body. The pain is typically described as a constant dull ache, although it can vary in intensity and may be accompanied by aching, stiffness, or tenderness in specific areas called “tender points.” These tender points are often found in the neck, shoulders, chest, hips, and knees.
In addition to pain, individuals with fibromyalgia may experience other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties (commonly referred to as “fibro fog”), headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), restless legs syndrome (RLS), anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can vary in severity and may fluctuate over time.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be challenging, as there are no specific laboratory tests or imaging studies to confirm it.
In the UK, fibromyalgia is recognised as a long-term condition and is estimated to affect around 2-4% of the population. It is more commonly diagnosed in women than in men. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides guidelines for the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia. A diagnosis is typically made based on a thorough evaluation of symptoms and ruling out other possible conditions. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, so treatment usually focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Treatment approaches for fibromyalgia in the UK may include a combination of medication, physical therapy, psychological support, and lifestyle changes. Medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants may be prescribed to help manage pain, improve sleep, and reduce symptoms. Physical therapy, such as exercise programs and physiotherapy, can help improve strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. Psychological support, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or counseling, may be beneficial in managing the emotional and psychological impact of fibromyalgia.
Meet the Team- Mark Farmer