Recognition of Fibromyalgia as a Disability — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 9:30 am, 15th January 2019

That is an excellent point, to which I shall return. One of the major problems that fibromyalgia sufferers experience is that it takes so long for their condition to be diagnosed. I shall talk more about what we can do to get earlier diagnosis and better understanding throughout general practice.

Fibromyalgia sufferers experience many different kinds of symptoms. Often there is a heightened sensitivity to pain and extreme muscle stiffness. They often struggle to sleep, which exacerbates their muscular difficulties, and experience extreme fatigue. Sufferers also experience cognitive difficulties—not just headaches but problems with mental processes, known as fibro-fog, and an inability to process things as they did previously. As if those things were not enough, fibromyalgia sufferers can be struck down with irritable bowel syndrome too. A panoply of symptoms means that people have a terrible time. However, often, when those symptoms are dealt with in general practice they are masked as other conditions. Many time-consuming treatments are undergone, but they do not get to the root of things.