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comforting a loved one with Fibromyalgia

What to say and what not to say to someone who has Fibromyalgia

Anybody who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia  will know that the journey to the point of diagnosis compounds the challenges associated with the illness. Because symptoms like muscle pain; poor sleep; fluctuating moods and more, are all associated with other illnesses, sufferers of fibromyalgia are often misdiagnosed or shuffled from doctor to doctor or specialist to specialist. It’s easy to feel stigmatised, isolated and misunderstood if you suffer from fibromyalgia. 

Once diagnosed correctly and in treatment, what sufferers want more than anything from those closest to them is some understanding and support. This understanding and support is best exhibited by learning about the illness and asking the right questions. It’s possible that through the travails of finding doctors specialising in fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses the sufferer may not have known that fibromyalgia was a possible diagnosis. He or she may be as unfamiliar as you are with the full extent of the condition. You could potentially offer help by assisting with some of the holistic applications that progressive fibromyalgia treatment in Australia should recommend.

Some questions that you might want to ask include:

  • I’m not very familiar with fibromyalgia, could you tell me more about it? 
  • How does fibromyalgia impact your life?
  • If there were some things that I could do to support you what would they be?

Being asked those questions is very reassuring to somebody with fibromyalgia. The symptoms are largely invisible to others and sufferers often struggle silently for fear of being misunderstood. This occurs under great duress. For sufferers of fibromyalgia, tasks that seem simple to us are enormous for them. They can live in a constant state of exhaustion and pain.

It is best to approach these conversations with an open and non-judgemental mind. Locating fibromyalgia pain at its source for instance, is not easy. Many doctors fail to understand so lay people, regardless of their experience with injury or muscle pain, will have little idea about locating the pain and possible treatments. It’s best to be understanding but not to offer solutions if you have little or no experience. The treatment for people with fibromyalgia who have muscle pain for instance, may vary greatly to the way people without fibromyalgia are treated. 

It’s really important that sufferers of fibromyalgia know that they have somebody to talk to and that they are given plenty of latitude if some tasks or commitments are beyond them. Don’t suggest that getting up and getting moving is the best thing for them when they may be suffering and completely depleted. 

Understand the condition as well as you possibly can and provide as much support as possible. 

Dr Peter Dobie MBBS has a particular interest in complex and chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, mould illness, allergies and chronic fatigue. Dr Peter Dobie also specialises in anti-ageing medicine and nutritional medicine.

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