Day to Day Life with Fibromyalgia
Definition of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is known by chronic widespread pain. No one knows what causes it. But it is believed to be from psychological, genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors. Touch points are an important part of the diagnosis for fibromyalgia. A doctor can diagnose fibromyalgia without any touch points or with just a few touch points identified.
Everyone has an opinion of what you should do when you have fibromyalgia. You have to find your own toolbox of techniques, medication, and strategies that help. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and psychiatrist can help but only you will know what relieves or even lessens your pain.
Questions & Answers
How bad is my fibromyalgia?
Pain is typically rated on a 10 point scale by most health practitioners. This give them an idea of your level of pain. In addition many doctors make a judgement on how severe your fibromyalgia by how many touch points are actively hurting.
Exercise may help people with fibromyalgia. The tendency is to want to stop because you are in so much pain. Starting or continuing to walk helps you stay limber, keep your weight down and reduces stress. If you are accustomed to more strenuous exercise you should consult your doctor but probably can continue. Moving what you can is a good strategy.
Environmental Factors vs. Family Tree
Doctors believe that there are environmental triggers to Fibromyalgia. Some people report stress triggers more pain. Other people report the weather triggers pain. Winter and cold weather is sometimes the culprit.
Who in a family will get active fibromyalgia and who won’t is anyone’s guess. Evidence shows more women than men get fibromyalgia. A few men do get the disease as well. There is also evidence to show that fibromyalgia shows up in families. When questioned, women can usually remember their mother, grandmother, and aunts which had symptoms even though no one knew what it was.
Famous People with Fibromyalgia
Susan Flannery, actress
Rosie Hamlin, singer
Sinead O'Conner, singer
Michael James Hastings, actor
Andrea Cooper, graphic designer
AJ Langer, actress
People who probably had fibromyalgia:
Finding Health Care Professionals
Unfortunately many people who have fibromyalgia also have co-occuring disorders. There are several strategies you can use to find doctors and other professionals to work with fibromyalgia. When you call any health care professional’s office it is considered reasonable for you to ask questions. You can gage their experience by asking how long he has worked with patients who have fibromyalgia. You should also ask how many patients with fibromyalgia he typically sees in a week or month.
There are several sites online that can tell you if there is a doctor locally or close by that works with this diagnosis. Reading and staying current on your diagnosis will help too. Whether looking online or on printed materials you will gain useful information. You will also find names of professionals and organizations that can help in your search.
You should start to develop a circle of support around your health care. If you have several diagnoses you will have even more people in your circle of support.
You get to be the one to remind all of your health care professionals that you have fibromyalgia. Anything any one of them prescribe should take this diagnosis into account. You are the hub of your health care circle.
There Is No Cure For Fibromyalgia
Since there is no cure for fibromyalgia you will need to include many strategies and techniques in your care. There may be one treatment or medication that helps. More often it takes a combination of treatments and medications to help you feel better.
Sometimes it takes a while for what you are doing to work. Generally you should try a medication or strategy for a month or two before you give up. Even though it doesn’t work this time or in this combination something may work later.
Medications may be over the counter or prescription medications. They can be anti-inflammatories or pain medications. Surprisingly anti-depressants are prescribed successfully for the pain as well. Topical medications can also be over the counter or prescription. They might be creams, ointments, or even patches.
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Find a support group. They can be invaluable in finding people that understand. The other benefit is finding people who know health care professionals who can help you. Seeing another person cope successfully is so important.
How Will I Afford This
First make sure health care professionals know you are trying to live on a budget. Ask for samples of new medication. Several prescription medications that are used to help people with fibromyalgia have programs to help with the cost.
If you are looking for professionals and do not have insurance check to see if your closest university has any free clinics. At times there are other clinics not associated with universities which may have free clinics for the ‘working poor’. This may help you find someone who can help.
Some people may qualify for their state’s Medicaid program. Occasionally regular doctor’s offices may take pro bono patients. You have to ask. It’s better to ask in writing. This can work with physical therapists and counseling offices too.
Make sure all of your doctors know about the medications you get or are trying.