15 Things to Never Say to a Fibromyalgia Patient... Ever
In trying to help someone with fibromyalgia, you can inadvertently say something hurtful. You may not mean to, but you do. Think about what you say before you say it. Here are some things you should never say to someone who is in chronic pain.
Think before speaking. These 15 phrases are hurtful and need to stop
1. “Lower your stress levels, and you will feel better.”
Lowering stress levels will improve pain and fatigue, but having no stress is impossible, and it won’t cure fibromyalgia. When someone tells a patient to lower their stress levels, it just makes things worse. You are now more stressed than before your "caring" friend made that statement.
2. “Oh, come on. It can’t hurt that bad.”
What a thing to say. No one knows what someone else is feeling, even if they have the same condition. Someone with fibromyalgia gets up every day in pain. You learn to tolerate different levels of pain, but that’s the only choice available.
Fibromyalgia pain is chronic, widespread and can be either mild or intense. It attacks different parts of the body at different times. Pain can be a muscular aching and throbbing, or a burning and shooting feeling. Fibromyalgia pain can manifest itself all over the body. It’s almost like having the flu all the time, without any relief.
3. “It’s all in your head.”
Hah! No, it’s in my body. Medical tests have proven that fibromyalgia is not in your head. The pain is real, and people who do not have the condition need to accept it.
4. “It’s a woman thing.”
Men have fibromyalgia, too. Today many doctors and others think of fibromyalgia as something a woman does to get attention. Guess what? Patients do not want attention. They want to ignore that they are sick and in pain, but they can’t.
5. “Oh, come on just push through it.”
Easier said than done. You want to ignore it and work through it. Some people think if you ignore it, the pain will go away. If you have fibromyalgia, you have to push through it. But, it doesn't mean the pain will stop, and simplifying it to an "Oh, come on" is highly insensitive.
6. “Take that medication they show on tv.”
Commercials on TV for fibromyalgia imply that if you just take a little pill, you will be okay in the morning. Not at all true. Most people with fibromyalgia have tried to take every medication available for fibromyalgia, but pills don’t work, and often there are debilitating side effects.
7. “I get achy, too.”
Everyone has aches and pains. But, just imagine, having the flu and it not going away.
Some might say: “We all get aches and pains as we get older.” This is true, but the pain of fibromyalgia is more than the normal aches and pains associated with aging. Hugs, handshakes or a pat on the shoulder shouldn’t hurt, right? But if you have fibromyalgia these little acts of friendliness can be horribly painful.