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All About FibromyalgiaA Guide for Patients and their Families$
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Daniel J. Wallace and Janice Brock Wallace

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195147537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

How to Overcome Fibromyalgia

How to Overcome Fibromyalgia

20 How to Overcome Fibromyalgia
All About Fibromyalgia

Daniel J. Wallace

Janice Brock Wallace

Oxford University Press

When our patients are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, their initial reaction generally is “What?” At this point, we provide them with literature from fibromyalgia support groups and the Arthritis Foundation and explain what this condition means. Often we meet with family members to reinforce the educational process. In mild cases, this creates a sense of relief. Some patients who have seen several physicians and been given various diagnoses have differing reactions: “Are you just trying to put me off?” “My last rheumatologist said the same thing, told me he could do nothing for it, and sent me back to my family doctor.” “Are you sure it’s not lupus or Lyme disease or cancer?” Once our patients have accepted the diagnosis and read about the syndrome, we examine their behavior patterns and try to find ways to help them deal with the diagnosis in a constructive manner. This chapter reviews some of the emotional reactions our patients display and problems they have to deal with, gives practical advice on how to surmount obstacles, and describes community resources that help patients overcome the syndrome. It’s hard enough to get through the day when feeling unwell. In fibromyalgia, the sense of being unwell is manifested by fatigue, pain, spasm, poor sleeping, lack of stamina or endurance, and sometimes difficulty concentrating or focusing. Fibromyalgia patients frequently react to these sensations with specific attitudes, emotions, and other behavioral responses, including anxiety, anger, guilt, loss of self-esteem, depression, and fear. There are no physical markers of fibromyalgia that reveal the syndrome to others. Fibromyalgia patients have no deformities, don’t have an X marked on their fore head, look healthy, and seem able to be active. While this is good for the patient in one sense, friends, employers, and loved ones often have difficulty believing that they have so many complaints. Therefore, it’s important to be open and frank with those who care. You need to have their trust to help them understand the limitations imposed by fibromyalgia. Patients do not need to be coddled or treated like invalids; they crave and need understanding and respect.

Keywords:   Internet, acetaminophen, coping strategies, distractions, family, irritable bowel syndrome, marriage, perfectionism, self-esteem

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