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How patients with fibromyalgia experience their symptoms in everyday life

How patients with fibromyalgia experience their symptoms in everyday life

PhysioTherapy Research International 4(2): 110-122

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by diffuse widespread pain and fatigue. The purpose of this study was to search for a deeper knowledge of the way patients with FMS experience their symptoms in everyday life. Qualitative interviews, applying the phenomenological method, were used. The respondents were interviewed twice and asked to describe a typical day. Eleven Swedish women, aged 24-54 years, fulfilling the ACR criteria for FMS participated in the study. The duration of pain ranged from three to 20 years. Three patients worked full-time, six worked part-time and two did not work outside the home. The effect of perceived symptoms on everyday life was considerable. Four different patterns of perceiving and managing symptoms were identified: Struggling: respondents who perceived that they managed their everyday life by mobilizing their physical and psychological strength to fight their pain and fatigue; Adapting: respondents who perceived that they managed their everyday life by planning their activities on the basis of their assumptions of limitations; In despair: respondents who were in despair as they could no longer cope with their pain and life situation; Giving up: respondents who had given up many activities of everyday life and felt that their symptoms dominated their life. The study illuminates qualitative differences in FMS patients' experience and management of their symptoms in their everyday life. These differences ought to be considered when planning physiotherapy treatment.

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Accession: 046280671

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PMID: 10444761

DOI: 10.1002/pri.157

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