Lived experiences of fibromyalgia
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Diviney, Martina, & Dowling, Maura. (2015). Lived experiences of fibromyalgia. Primary Health Care, 25 (9): 18-23, doi: 10.7748/phc.25.9.18.s27
Martina Diviney and Maura Dowling explain why this chronic illness can take a long time to diagnose and how assessment tools can be used to speed up the process This phenomenological study explored the lived experience of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Open interviews were conducted with nine people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. All participants outlined long and complex journeys involving ‘a diagnosis of elimination’ and the difficulties of living with an ‘invisible’ illness, which results in loss of friendships and family roles, and places restrictions on daily life. Most participants experienced a general lack of understanding of the condition, such as being told ‘it is in your head’ by healthcare professionals. Findings reveal the impact of fibromyalgia on people’s lives and the need for responsive, person-centred, supportive services, which primary care nurses are ideally placed to provide.