Having fibromyalgia is difficult. It’s the kind of condition that changes your life completely. He can not do the kind of things he used to do, which means he has to make big adjustments in his whole lifestyle. And in spite of everything, it is a chronic and horrible pain and debilitating fatigue.
But fibromyalgia is not only difficult for people who suffer from it. Too often, we forget how life can change the lives of people who have loved ones who have the disease. Often, these people are pushed to the position of caregiver.
So, what do you do when someone you love develops fibromyalgia? The most important thing is to educate yourself about the condition. There is a lot of misinformation about fibromyalgia, so it is vital to know the real facts. So, let’s talk about what you should know about fibromyalgia if you have a loved one with the disease and let’s talk about some tips for fibromyalgia caregivers.
What is fibromyalgia?
If your loved one is diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may begin to notice that you are often tired or in constant pain. This is because fibromyalgia causes chronic fatigue and pain radiating from 18 specific points of the body. These points are called sensitive points because when you press them, the pain increases. But pain does not only occur when the stitches are touched.
In contrast, the pain of fibromyalgia is basically constant. But that does not suggest that it’s always the same. The person who is caring can experience something known as “outbreaks”. These are basically days when the symptoms of the disease are much more serious. They are usually caused by stress or physical activity, and can be severe enough to make it almost impossible to get out of bed.
And you may also notice that, during these outbreaks, a person with fibromyalgia may seem especially forgetful or have difficulty concentrating. That’s because fibromyalgia causes a kind of mental cloudiness. People in the fibromyalgia community often refer to this as “fibro fog.”
We do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but the best theory is that it is somehow related to a condition in the nervous system that causes nerves to send pain signals without any source of physical harm.
So, now that you know a little more about fibromyalgia, what are some things you should keep in mind when caring for someone who has the disease?
Advice for fibromyalgia caregivers
The first thing you should keep in mind when caring for someone with fibromyalgia is that they should remember to take their medications. Because of their fibro fog, they can sometimes forget. In addition, many people who struggle with fibromyalgia feel that their medication is not working for them. And for many people, this may be true.
The standard medication to treat fibromyalgia is something called an SSRI. These drugs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, and may be useful for many people with the condition. But they do not seem to work for everyone. As a result, the person with fibromyalgia may not want to take them. However, decisions about medications should always be made by a doctor. If the person you care for does not think your medication is working, help them schedule an appointment with their doctor to discuss other options, but encourage them to take their medication until the doctor changes their prescription.
Many people with fibromyalgia also take opioid analgesics. These carry their own risks and, as you’ve probably heard, deaths from opioid overdoses have often been described as an epidemic. Make sure the person who is taking care is taking these medications responsibly.
The second most important part of caring for someone with fibromyalgia is remembering that they are suffering. Often, people with fibromyalgia have difficulty maintaining relationships. Fibromyalgia changes life in more ways than one. It can change your personality when you are struggling with chronic pain. And fatigue and mental fog make it difficult to handle daily tasks.
Therefore, the person you care for could have problems with daily life, and it is important to be there for them. Just be a friend first and then a caregiver. Those struggles that people with fibromyalgia endure often lead to depression, something that you should also consider. While fibromyalgia is not fatal, the suicide rate among people with fibromyalgia is tragically high. And depression can be much worse if the person with the condition feels socially isolated.
Therefore, pay attention to the signs of depression and help the person who is caring for you to get professional help if you seem to need it.
And remember, there is not much you can do to help someone with the pain of fibromyalgia, but it can make your life easier in many ways. And most importantly, you can help them to continue living their lives as normally as possible.
So, are you taking care of someone with fibromy? What other things should caregivers consider? Let us know in the comments..