Fibromyalgia Support Groups Can Help You Better Understand Your Condition

by Editorial Board on December 9, 2010 · 0 comments

in Fibromyalgia,Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome, fibromyositis, and fibrositis is a chronic pain disorder characterized by abnormal pain processing, widespread pain, multiple tender points, sleep disturbances and fatigue.  It is often accompanied by psychological distress.  Fibromyalgia affects people physically, mentally and socially.  For people suffering with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can interfere with everyday activities and can be debilitating.  Fibromyalgia occurs in about 2 percent of the U.S. population, and is more common in women than in men.   Many sufferers also have co-existing conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms, fibromyalgia can be temporarily or permanently disabling.

Fibromyalgia is classified as a syndrome rather than a disease.  A disease is a medical conditions with a specific, identifiable cause (or causes) and recognizable symptoms.   A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and medical problems that occur together but may not have a specific, identifiable cause.  Because the causes of fibromyalgia are unknown at this time, and the symptoms vary from person to person, diagnoses are sometimes inconclusive.

Living with fibromyalgia can be lonely.  Few people understand what it’s like to live in constant pain and exhaustion.  Social situations can be difficult because other people around you may not understand fibromyalgia and its effect on a person’s health and activity level.  Emotional ups and downs are common for people dealing with a chronic and potentially debilitating illness. Many people with fibromyalgia are clinically depressed.

Support Groups Can Help You Cope With Fibro

Because of its nature, fibromyalgia is a condition that sufferers must learn to manage.  It can help to learn from people who share your experiences.  If you’re struggling to manage your illness, you may benefit from a support group.  Meetings help fibromyalgia sufferers and their families learn more about their condition, which will encourage them to take control of their treatment.  Support groups also provide a safe, comfortable place for people to share experiences and encouragement, creating a sense of community for people who may feel lonely and misunderstood because of their illness.  Sometimes it just helps to know you’re not alone there are people who understand what you’re feeling.

There are a number of support groups online, and there may even be local groups in your community.  Contact your doctor, local hospital, or health-insurance company to find out about local programs, or search for them on the Internet.  Many support groups include people with a variety of chronic pain conditions, because people suffering from these conditions often have similar concerns.  If there is no fibromyalgia support group near you, consider joining a group for, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.  If you can’t find a local group, you might even consider starting one.

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