The pain scales used in hospitals and doctor’s offices are a useful tool for people of average health. But they are utterly useless when it comes to conveying fibromyalgia pain.
Pain experienced by fibromyalgia patients is different than what the average person experiences during a health crisis. Our pain isn’t short term or caused by something that can be fixed.
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We experience some level of pain on a daily basis. Over time we become accustomed to a certain level of pain. Because of this what may be considered a 5 on the pain scale from an average person, may become a 1 or 2 to someone diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
But have you considered that an adjusted pain scale would also be irrelevant when comparing pain between fibromyalgia patients?
There are a few other factors to take into consideration when discussing and/or comparing pain levels.
Level of Assistance
Some patients have a great support system.
They have family and friends or hired help that steps in to help them stay on track when it comes to taking care of their homes and yards. This type of assistance prevents the patient from having to play a never-ending game of catch up.
Who provides assistance is also a factor to be considered. If their helpers do it out of obligation and not out of a desire to help, it creates a stressful environment. And as we all know, stress triggers pain and symptoms just as bad as physical activity.
Where we live can make a huge difference!
The trouble with climate is that not every fibromyalgia patient reacts the same to the same types of weather.
For example, some may not be able to tolerate heat or cold. Some may experience an increased pain level before a storm and others during or after. Some people thrive in dryer climates while others desire warm and humid weather.
Just because a handful of patients experience less pain in a particular region, it doesn’t mean that everyone should move there.
Pain Management Options
Not everyone has access to the same pain management tools.
There are some who have doctors that are willing to prescribe appropriate pain medication. Others live where they have legal access to cannabis.
Some patients are able to afford to pay for treatments, devices, and medications that aren’t covered by their insurance companies.
And unfortunately, there are some people who have no choice but to adhere to a pain management plan that does nothing for them to avoid losing their benefits.
Multiple Chronic Illnesses
Fibromyalgia has many of the same symptoms of other chronic illnesses such as psoriatic arthritis and lupus.
This not only makes it difficult to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis but to be diagnosed with other conditions as well.
In regards to pain levels, having one or more chronic illnesses could result in having more or less pain than another fibromyalgia patient.
Having multiple illnesses may result in experiencing more symptoms and pain. They could also alter the pain experienced from fibromyalgia.
Someone with multiple chronic illnesses may experience more relief than someone only diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This could be from a medication/treatment that isn’t typically prescribed for it.
Comparing our pain is useless unless we are willing to sit down to discuss all the factors that play into our health and healthcare and be open and understanding that what works for one may not work for another.
With that said. For ten years I followed a standard protocol for treating fibromyalgia. I never experienced relief or improvement until I took all the factors listed above into consideration. As I said before, what works for one may not work for another. If you are interested in finding out what has helped me significantly reduce the pain I experience from fibromyalgia on a daily basis, I invite you to read about my pain management plan.