Fibromyalgia Syndrome: How to Help a Family Member Who has FMS

Fibromyalgia syndrome causes a person to hurt all over their body, and they often feel extremely fatigued. Several of my family members are currently dealing with this, and it is important that your family fully understand this illness, in order to help you cope with it. However just because you may have a few of the symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have FMS. According to the American College of Rheumatology, “the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based on the person’s history of chronic widespread pain and the finding of tender points by the physician in specific locations. Those who suffer from FMS may also experience depression and abnormal anxiety. FMS can also be aggravated by such external conditions as too much or too little physical activity, a cold front, a sleepless night, or too much stress. This illness is not deforming or crippling, nor is it life threatening in itself. According to our family doctor it usually affects more women than it does men.

I was very curious as to the cause of FMS so I did some research and spoke to several doctors. I found various theories that have been set forth as to the cause of FMS. Some say it is a virus or an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This usually affects the persons sleep, and they have an imbalance of such chemicals as endorphins, which is the bodies natural pain fighters. Many doctors have stated that there are problems in diagnosing FMS. Since most of the symptoms can be found in other conditions, FMS is not always the first thing that your doctor will look for. In order to help your family better understand you may think about purchasing a few books on the topic. One is “When Muscle Pain Won’t Go Away by Gayle Backstom. You can also contact your local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation or a rheumatologist for additional information. As for getting treatment for your loved one, doctors usually focus on the symptoms since there is no current cure. The pain can differ from person to person and often fluctuates from day to day. We also found out that many of the pain medications and a few other forms of treatment seem to lose their effectiveness over time.

One way that you can help if someone in your family is suffering from this is by helping to make sure that they get enough sleep. This is a vital aspect that can contribute to the amount of pain that the individual has to deal with. Also many Fibromyalgia patients have benefited from a combination of exercise, medication, physical therapy, and of course relaxation. It might be very difficult for some to start exercising at first, but start off slowly and make sure that your or your family member has plenty of help. Those with FMS may also experience problems at work. My mother now finds it very difficult to work because of her health. By working part time she is able to minimize the amount of stress that she has. Each family member can learn all that they can about FMS and come to appreciate that even though the FMS sufferer looks healthy, they have a chronic illness that causes pain and fatigue. It is important to have good communication with them. Our doctor also pointed out that it is important for the sufferer to learn to conserve energy while still getting things done. Try not to be judgmental, and keep your conversation with them on a positive level. Help them to make the needed changes in their life and not let themselves get discouraged by temporary setbacks.

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