Against all odds – living with chronic pain




Times of India article


Arushi Lohiya, a 29-year-old, might seem like any other working woman in the city. Except that she is not. Arushi is suffering from a condition called Fibromyalgia which makes it impossible for her to sit or stand for more than 15 minutes at a stretch.


The disorder, resulting in widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues, means that Arushi is in constant pain. She works from home and has her own company which provides marketing services for start-ups, along with a consulting job for a firm based in US. She has been fighting the ailment for the last six years and life has changed drastically for her, but she is optimistic that she will overcome this condition. As of now, there is no exclusive cure for Fibromyalgia, which affects 0.5-2% of general population, and painkillers and physiotherapy are some forms of treatment which are used for it.

“It started with pain in my back and I didn’t think it was anything unusual, but rapidly the pain was all over my body and I couldn’t sit for long. I have always been a workaholic and when this condition hit me, I was going places professionally. I underwent multiple tests, but since there is no one particular test for a confirmed diagnosis, it was a process of elimination. The pain is so excruciating that I have to do everything in shifts — be it eating or any other routine chore. I work lying down and even then it is difficult,” says Lohiya.

According to medical professionals, Fibromyalgia, a condition of pain perception, is a long-term chronic illness affecting 0.5-2% of general population in India. Females are three to seven times more frequently affected than males. Dr Vikram Sharma, a leading orthopaedic surgeon in Jaipur told TOI, “This condition results in travelling pain and it is difficult to find the trigger for it. It is somewhat rare, and I treat around five patients for this every year. Though treatment is possible, it is collective, in the sense that patients need a team of doctors specialising in various fields like physiotherapy, neurology, orthology, psychiatry and pain management.”

Though devastated initially, Lohiya says she is willing to battle it out and added, “Some days it wins over me but there are days when I win over it, too. Fibromyalgia might win the battle, but I will win the war. Maybe not now but soon. Until that day, I shall continue ‘photosynthesising’ my life with my very own weapons of hope, positivity, courage and a never-say-die attitude.”

Chronic pain

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, a disease of pain perception, is a long-term chronic illness, affecting 0.5-2% of general population. Females are 3-7 times more frequently affected than males. The common age-group is 20-40 years.

International data says Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the US and an estimated 3-6% of the world population, while it is most prevalent among women.

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