Abstract: ‘A constant struggle’: Successful strategies of women in work despite fibromyalgia.

Disabil Rehabil. 2006 Apr;28(7):447-55.

Lofgren M, Ekholm J, Ohman A.

Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Purpose. This study aimed to explore, and obtain increased knowledge of, the strategies used by working women with fibromyalgia regarding control of pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

Method. Qualitative methods with an emergent design were used. The informants were women with fibromyalgia who had participated in rehabilitation 6-8 years earlier, and were still in work. Diaries, focus groups and individual interviews were used for data collection. Content analysis and grounded theory were used for the analyses.

Results. A model with three categories emerged. The core category ‘constant struggle’ contains eight sub-categories: enjoying life, taking care of oneself, positive thinking, setting limits, using pain as a guide, creative solutions, learning/being knowledgeable and ‘walking a tightrope’.

The category ‘grieving process’ was a prerequisite for managing the struggle and the category ‘social support’ contained what facilitated the struggle.

Conclusion. The informants fought a constant struggle against the symptoms and the consequences of their fibromyalgia. Their strategies were action-oriented and evinced a positive spirit.
To have grieved and accepted their situation was a prerequisite for managing, and support from the family was a help in the struggle.

PMID: 16507507 [PubMed – in process]

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