Abstract: Recovery from fibromyalgia – previous patients’ own experiences

Disabil Rehabil. 2004 Jan;26(1):46-53.

Mengshoel AM, Heggen K.

Purpose: To explore what patients that had completely recovered from fibromyalgia (FM) experienced as being important for their recovery.

Methods: Five women, aged between 37 and 49 were interviewed individually. The interviews were aimed at finding out about the recovery process and the women’s daily lives at the time of the interview and before and after their diagnosis, with a special emphasis on social relationships and obligations. The interviews were analysed by qualitative thematic content analysis.

Results: These five women reported that they recovered irrespective of specific treatment. The study shows that resistance to the unpleasantness of the sick role and the stigmatization associated with the uncertain nature of the FM diagnosis promoted recovery.

Instead of adapting their activities to pain, they used pain as a warning signal of too much stress in life. This significantly developed their ability to alter their life goals and everyday obligations. At the same time they managed to maintain a social role they considered to be consistent with their self-image.

Conclusions: Patients can recover from FM. The information from these informants suggests that to struggle against a role of chronic patient and keep up with their social obligations and goals were of great importance.

PMID: 14660198 [PubMed – in process]

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