Around this time last year, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga was preparing for her Super Bowl LI Half Time performance.
This year found her in the middle of a world tour. She had shows lined up for London, Zurich, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, Manchester, Cologne, and, Copenhagen.
Sadly she has had to cancel the European leg of her world tour on account of severe pain.
Lady Gaga, 31 has fibromyalgia. A condition she shared with the world in her documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two.
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA), Fibromyalgia “is one of the most common chronic pain conditions.” They report that the disorder “affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population.”
Other celebrities with the condition include Morgan Freeman, Michael James Hastings, Sinead O’Connor, Janeane Garofalo, and, Mary McDonough and the late Frieda Kahlo.
What is Fibromyalgia
The Mayo Clinic says that “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.” They also note that “Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”
What Causes Fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is yet to be pinpointed. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following factors though have been found to be linked to the disorder.
- Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
- Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.
Fibromyalgia is associated with the following symptoms.
- Dull, aching pain on both sides of your body and above and below your waist
- Trouble remembering and concentrating which is sometimes referred to as a “fibro fog”
- Trouble sleeping
- Headaches or migraines
- Jaw pain or clicking
- Depression and anxiety
- Diarrhea and abdominal pain
- Painful menstrual periods
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Noise, light, or temperatures sensitivity
People diagnosed with fibromyalgia are typically also diagnosed with the following conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
Gender – According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), women are eight to nine times more likely than men to have fibromyalgia.
Age – According to the NFA, most people with fibromyalgia are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
Family history – You’re more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder if a close family member has it.
Sleep disorders – Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome (RLS), make some people more susceptible to fibromyalgia
Other rheumatic diseases – Rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), lupus, ankylosing spondylitis among others increase the likelihood of having fibromyalgia.
Depression – Mood disorders and fibromyalgia are closely related. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety stem from the same chemical imbalances linked to fibromyalgia. The strain of living with chronic pain can also cause depression. Also, depression can make your pain worse.
Other possible risk factors for fibromyalgia include not exercising, exercising too much, and undergoing surgery.
Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening and can be treated with a combination of medication and self-care depending on its severity.
Treatments may include pain relievers, antidepressants,anti-seizure drugs, physical and occupational therapy and, counseling. Self-care options may include living a healthier lifestyle, stress reduction, regular exercise and, adequate sleep.
Some people have gotten some relief from fibromyalgia symptoms by using acupuncture, massage therapy and, yoga.
This will not be the first time Lady Gaga has had to cancel a performance due to her condition.