The American Pain Foundation and the National Fibromyalgia Association surveyed over 3,000 people diagnosed with fibromyalgia and/or experiencing chronic pain. This was done to collect data on how these conditions affect daily life.
Nearly all respondents, 92% in total, reported their conditions as having a significant impact on major life decisions. Fibromyalgia and chronic pain can majorly affect your decisions to plan outings with friends and family, run errands, finish simple tasks were easy, like cleaning your house, getting ready for vacations, and also can affect huge decisions like to become a parent, take a certain job or even enter a relationship.
Here are a few of the notable ways these conditions can affect your life.
Fibromyalgia and Everyday Activities
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition. It is often accompanied by pain, fatigue, brain fog and even memory and mood issues. More research into the condition must be done. However, researchers believe that the condition makes painful signals in the brain and spinal cord more powerful than usual.
Here are a few everyday activities that are made much more difficult with fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
- Making appointments and/or family and friend events
Many have difficulty making appointments or scheduling lunch with family and friends for fear of letting people down because you may wake up that day and have a pain level of 7-9 and are just unable to even get ready to go. There is always a certain amount of worry when making plans with anyone or accepting invitations to special events.
Try calming your concerns of planning events the best that you can, and rest the day before and the day after, or at least try to rest a certain amount of time. Take an epsom salt bath the day before, of and after. Epsom salt baths really do help. Try using a planner to keep track of your engagements and spread them out. By spreading them out you always have something to look forward to. Give yourself time to rest, restore and rebuild your energy to accomplish things you wish to do.
- Wearing Clothes
Many of us take dressing and undressing for granted. For those with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, simply slipping on a pair of pants can cause chronic pain. The contact of skin to cloth triggers extra pain through the brain and spinal cord, this is called allodynia.
There are a few things that helped allodynia and if you do them on a regular basis they do seem to help. One of the things is to wear loose comfortable clothes during a flare of allodynia.
Driving is also difficult for individuals with fibromyalgia. This is particularly true for individuals who struggle with pain in your hips and lower back, and just general widespread pain and then even more difficult for those with brain fog that causes memory issues due to the condition.
Getting in and out of the car causes pain. Many can make 1 or 2 stops then need to return home to recover. It is hard to make yourself go home when more errands are needed but if you don’t you will end up in a flare. Balancing the errands is important to do so you feel that you have accomplished some tasks and also have maintained a healthy outing.
- Corporate work
Corporate and computer work may be more accommodating when compared to manual labor for individuals with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. However, jobs requiring long hours at a desk in one position can also heighten discomfort.
Working at a desk and/ or computer do take less of a toll on you body but make sure you get up every half hour and stretch a bit. Maybe get a standing computer stand so you can alternate between sitting and standing. While sitting at your desk remember to keep your shoulders down and sit up. Good posture is more than helpful yet hard to remember.
- Manual labor
Manual labor jobs are extremely difficult to complete, for those with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. This is due to the constant pain and fatigue in one’s body. These pains are heightened even further when manual labor such as lifting is performed.
If you must do manual labor take a lot of little breaks to stretch out the area that is causing pain. It could be just 20 seconds that you need to relieve certain overused muscles. When you get home take epsom salt baths.
The Myth of Masked Depression and Fibromyalgia
Living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain is a rather unique condition. Only 2-8% of the world’s population experiences fibromyalgia. The rareness of the fibromyalgia medical condition means that many have incorrect beliefs about what FM entails. You may be treated with distrust or negativity because of it.
One of the most popular myths concerning fibromyalgia is that the condition is simply a “masked depression.” Being extremely fatigued and not realizing it feels like sadness, but you are just extremely fatigued and need rest to help improve your mood.
This is widely untrue, although 40-80% of fibromyalgia patients do also have lifetime depressive disorders. The confusion stems from a lack of education concerning fibromyalgia and some overlap in depression and FM symptoms.
Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain
If you are living with fibromyalgia and/or chronic pain, many everyday activities will be harder to complete. You will even be misunderstood by people who are unfamiliar with your status.
It’s important to remember that your real friends and family members will believe you at your word. Although it is hard to explain to others how you feel, because it is difficult to describe what your body is going through even to yourself, try to take the time to explain how you feel both physically and mentally with descriptive words like; pain, fatigue, throbbing, shaking inside, burning sensations, etc.
The struggle is real and keeping a positive attitude is extremely difficult on some days but it is the best gift you can give yourself. On a most challenging day try to find one thing to be grateful for and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. I know this sounds cheesy, even to me!!!! Creating a thankful mindset makes a huge difference in your life. Every moment counts and those creative thankful moments will add up!
Ready to learn more about fibromyalgia and how to best optimize your life for happiness alongside the condition? Read more on our blog today.