Fibromyalgia sufferers deal with a multitude of symptoms that impact their daily lives. However, a recent survey reveals that pain is the #1 fibromyalgia symptom that affects patients on a daily basis.
Functioning with Fibro surveyed 1,228 adults in the U.S. with fibromyalgia, a condition affecting more than 5 million Americans and characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness lasting for three or more months.
“This study is underscores the need for more effective dialogue between patients and their healthcare providers (HCPs), focusing on pain management, including lifestyle changes that can make a difference,” said Jan Chambers, president of the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. Survey highlights include:
• Almost 70% of respondents confirmed that fibromyalgia pain has affected their physical intimacy with a partner or spouse, and 55% of respondents believe fibromyalgia pain has negatively impacted their romantic relationships in some way.
• Fibromyalgia pain has caused 85% of respondents to miss events in their life, and more than half have seen a negative impact on friendships and family bonds.
• On average, respondents reported experiencing more “flare-up” days – days when symptoms are increased – than good ones in a typical week. In fact, 72% admitted they are hesitant to plan social activities out of fear they will have to cancel due to pain.
• Almost half of respondents are currently discussing with their HCP ways to improve day-to-day life, and nearly all have done something to improve their ability to live with fibromyalgia pain, including minimizing stressful situations, setting more limits and incorporating physical activity regularly.
• Less than a third of respondents are discussing management expectations, such as how to set and track goals, with their HCP.
• Of those who set personal improvement goals, more than one third reported that their HCP has helped them establish and set these goals.
Spotlight on fibromyalgia suffererJan Chambers, President of the NFMCPA Mother of five with fibromyalgia
“My own fibromyalgia story began in December 2005. I underwent surgery, and when I woke up from the operation, my world was forever changed. I had electrifying, shocking pain going through my body, and my left leg was numb. I kept saying that something felt terribly wrong, but my doctors told me it was just the after-effects from the anesthesia.
When I went home, I was still hurting everywhere. I stayed on my couch for the next 16 months. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t allow anybody to touch me, and I slept with pillows all around me to keep my arms and legs from touching each other. The pain became so debilitating that I contacted my physician. I ultimately found out that these symptoms were due to fibromyalgia.
Living with pain, and not knowing why, can be incredibly frustrating. Fibromyalgia has long been misunderstood, as it is a complicated disease with many different symptoms, and as a patient, I have understood the importance of differentiating between the symptoms and recognizing the impact that just one symptom – like pain – can have on your life.
Since being diagnosed, I’ve learned how to manage my fibromyalgia symptoms, which includes an effective treatment plan paired with education, perseverance, improved lifestyle changes and a positive attitude. These are some of the best tools a person facing fibromyalgia can be equipped with every day.”
If you think you may have fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition, speak with your physician about your symptoms in a clear, organized way, and explain how they are impacting your daily life. The key to managing fibromyalgia is education and early detection, so you can find a treatment plan that works.
Note: Functioning with Fibro was developed and funded by Pfizer Inc. and conducted in collaboration with the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).