Lady Gaga’s shape-shifting quality is strongly evocative of the music legends Madonna and David Bowie. She has gone through several iterations over the years, both musically and stylistically, and her artistic acrobatics have cemented her status as one of the all-time greats. The star may seem otherworldly at times, but she has also betrayed her humanity over the years by opening up about her chronic condition.
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The pop star first addressed her long-term health condition on Twitter a couple of years back.
The star revealed she has fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
“I wish to help raise awareness and connect people who have it. We can all share what helps/hurts,” she tweeted.
Since then, the star has elaborated further on the condition, providing a tender insight into how it affects her.
Speaking to Vogue a couple of years ago, the star said: “I get so irritated with people who don’t believe fibromyalgia is real.”
She continued: “For me, and I think for many others, it’s really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result.
“People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke. And it’s every day waking up not knowing how you’re going to feel.”
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating
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How to treat it
According to the NHS, there’s currently no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with.
As the health body explains, fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms, meaning that no single treatment will work for all of them.
Treatments that work for some people will not necessarily work for others, notes the health site.
Treatment tends to be a combination of:
- Medicine, such as antidepressants and painkillers
- Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling
- Lifestyle changes, such as exercise programmes and relaxation techniques
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“Exercise in particular has been found to have a number of important benefits for people with fibromyalgia, including helping to reduce pain,” adds the NHS.
According to a study published in the journal Pain, yoga may provide considerable relief for fibromyalgia symptoms.
In this study, conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, researchers enrolled 53 female study subjects previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women were randomly assigned to two research groups.
The first group participated in an eight-week yoga program, which included gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussions. The second group of women – the control group – received standard medication treatments for fibromyalgia.
Following completion of the yoga program, researchers assessed each study subject using questionnaires and physical tests. The results were then compared with testing results obtained prior to the yoga classes.
The members of the control group underwent the same evaluations. In addition, each participant in the yoga group was urged to keep a daily diary to personally assess their condition throughout the entire program.
Comparison of the data for the two groups revealed that yoga appeared to assist in combating a number of serious fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, fatigue, stiffness, poor sleep, depression, poor memory, anxiety and poor balance.
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