Today I stumbled across a Fibromyalgia article found here. I have to admit, I gagged a little bit when I read it. I think this embodies all the problems with Fibromyalgia advice in one lousy article. These are the suggestions that were offerered for coping with Fibromyalgia:
Suggestion 1- Get more sleep
It’s not that easy folks, people with Fibromyalgia have big problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. Add to that painsomnia, and it makes makes for a lot of sleepless nights.
Suggestion 2- Just exercise more
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told exercising would fix my health. Here’s the problem though, Saturday was a beautiful day so I spent 20 minutes weeding my flower beds which were in dire need of some attention. Here it is Monday and I am still in so much pain I can hardly walk, all from spending 20 minutes pulling weeds. Imagine what would happen if I tried to run or lift weights. Not to mention the current pain killer hysteria makes getting treatment for pain very difficult. So if I exercise I’m going to feel worse, and then if I dare mention it to my doctor i’ll get accused of being a drug addict.
Suggestion 3- Make adjustments at work
It’s not that people with Fibromyalgia don’t want to make suggestions at work, it’s their employers who aren’t willing. Society in general is not willing to cater to the chronically ill and disabled. With the advent of virtual employment there are more options than there used to be, but it’s still difficult to find a salaried job as a virtual employee. Many of the chronically ill are already employed when they become sick and they are unable to get their employers to adapt to their disabilities. Unfortunately for them if their employer fails to adapt their employment is lost and there is no recourse. There are very few protections out there for people with chronic illness. In most cases if you can’t physically keep up you either quit your job or get fired.
Suggestion 4- Eat healthy food
This advice is too simplified. Of course it is incredibly important to eat healthy, but there is no diet that cures Fibromyalgia. People with Fibro can exist entirely on organic juice and kale, but they still won’t be cured.
Suggestion 5- Find ways to control pain by asking a doctor
If only it were that easy. Many doctors are reluctant to hand out pain pills because they are afraid of getting in trouble. Especially doctors who treat many chronic pain patients because they have to worry about being investigated for handing out too many narcotics. Also, many patients who ask for pain medicine are labeled drug seekers, and then it’s impossible to get help after you get that label. Just ask anyone whose ever tried to go the the ER because they were in pain, I can guarantee you DRUG SEEKER is forever labeled on their file. Suggestions offered to replace painkillers such as physical therapy and massage are not covered by health insurance. Make alternatives to pain killers affordable and then we can talk about how this is an actual option for controlling pain.
Suggestion 6- Get support from your friends and family
This isn’t bad advice in itself because of course support from friends and family is important, but most people don’t want to be friends with someone who is chronically ill. People who are sick are not considered fun, they are considered to be draining and depressing. Additionally many people are in situations where their family and friends think they are faking since Fibromyalgia is not a easily identified disease.
My point with all this is that life is not as easy as these articles try to make it, and when people write simplistic articles like this one it only hurts Fibromyalgia patients. I’d appreciate an article about real concrete ways to live a better life with chronic illness. If a news organization can’t write that article then they shouldn’t write anything at all.
Shared at Chronic Friday