Today I stumbled across a the 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 in one lousy article. These are the suggestions that sick people hear over and over again:
Suggestion 1- Get more sleep.
Everyone with Fibromyalgia wants more sleep. Fibro patients go to sleep tired and wake up tired. They have have difficulty both falling and staying asleep. Add to that painsomnia and it makes makes for a lot of sleepless nights. If people with Fibro could get more sleep, they would. This suggestion is overly simplistic.
Suggestion 2- Exercise
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told exercising would fix my problems. Here’s the issue 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.
Exercise results for people in pain are mixed. Overall exercise is generally good, but it has to be tailored to the person and their body. This involves the expertise of a physical therapist, something that is not available to many people with Fibro.
Suggestion 3- Make adjustments at work
This is a great idea, unfortunately society does not cater to the chronically ill. 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.
Suggestion 4- Eat healthy food
Diet is a tricky subject for people with Fibromyalgia. Many of us have found that changing out diet in certain ways makes us feel better, but many of us have found it doesn’t change anything at all. The problem is that these solutions rarely fix everything for everyone, but doctors love to use them as a bludgeon to convince patients their pain is their fault.
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.
Additionally, the sexism in the medical system denies women treatment for pain or even acknowledgement of it. Women are:
– More likely to be given sedatives for their pain, while men are more likely to be given pain medication.
– Less likely than men to be admitted to intensive care units and to get certain procedures, once they arrive there; they are also more likely to die in the ICU.
– Going to have to wait longer then men before they get any pain medicine in the ER—65 minutes on average, compared with 49 for men.
And the depressing statistics go on and on. There is no guarantee that seeing a doctor, or even dozens of doctors will produce any results.
Suggestion 6- Get support from your friends and family
Of course support from friends and family is important, but most people don’t want to be friends with someone who is chronically ill. Also many people are in situations where their family and friends think they are faking because Fibro is not a easily identified disease.
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.