A Man’s Guide to Understand Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic condition marked by sleep issues, fatigue, pain, and cognitive disruptions, affects women disproportionally more than men and about 80% of FM patients are women. And that means that many men are in need of education about this illness, along with coping strategies. But in order to help your loved ones, you need to know what kinds of things might make their symptoms worse.

Pain is the core symptom of FM, but different people feel the pain in different ways. FM pain may be felt as:

  • Deep pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Aching pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • All-over pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Problems with anxiety and/or depression
  • Tender pain
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Shooting pain
  • Problems with memory and thinking clearly (often known as “fibro fog”)
  • Overlapping conditions like restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and others

Do you know someone who was diagnosed with a chronic pain illness or fibromyalgia (FM)?  Perhaps they are disabled from working due to several conditions related with these illnesses. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to expect of yourself and the person you care about with the chronic illness.  Perhaps the following practical suggestions can help you better support your spouse, friend, or relative who has a chronic pain condition or fibromyalgia.

Understand that it is a real disease.

One of the biggest problems with FM is that many people still do not believe that it exists. Not being able to apparently see that anything is wrong with your partner or wife can make the condition even more difficult to accept.

Get educated.

For someone with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, along with other conditions, those conditions are much more painful for them than for someone who does not have fibromyalgia. As you educate yourself, you will be less likely to blunder into saying things like, “It is all in your head.” As it is never easy to see a loved one in pain.

Be flexible.

With FM, events can get canceled, plans can change, and sometimes they may find themselves housebound when they had an important task to do. They are not helpless! Treasure them for their strengths.

Expect bad days.

Depression and mood changes related to a “bad fibro day” are common when your loved one has FM. Again, you need to develop a mind-set that allows you to accept that better days will come. So treasure what you do have. You will feel a lot better if you do, and the relationship itself will improve.

Find a support system.

We all like to be understood. Even the most understanding partner or wife is going to need his own support network of friends or family who can act as a sounding board for what they are going through. A person with FM often feels isolated and misunderstood. You do not have to give great advice to be tremendously appreciated. Sometimes they will want to express their frustration and other times they will want to focus elsewhere. We all love it when someone works at tuning in to how we feel and what we think. You can also join our support group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness” which have currently 45,000+ Fibro warriors.

Be independent.

It is also very important to have your own activities and interests so that you are not always wrapped up in the world of FM.

Communicate.

Communication works both ways. They probably do not want to be seen as a “complainer.” Many FM patients try to put on a happy face. The key to staying together as a couple is keeping the lines of communication open. Do not stop asking them to do things with you. Even if the person with FM can’t make it, they feel good for continuing to be asked.

 

2. I wear purple for Her: Show support to your loved ones who are suffering from fibromyalgia. Go out with them on walk and wear this shirt to let them know how much you loved them.

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Reference:

Guide to Understanding Spouse’s Fibromyalgia by M H Shahid via Fibromyalgia Resources

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