Women with Fibromyalgia Suffer a "Double Burden"

Many women express intense frustration due to the doubt they encounter from people who do not understand their invisible source of pain.

Fibromyalgia, which affects mostly middle-aged women, causes chronic pain which can make daily life a hassle, but the physical pain is not the only burden women suffering from this painful condition must deal with. According to a recent study, many women express intense frustration due to the doubt they encounter from people who do not understand the invisible source of pain fibromyalgia suffers must struggle with on a daily basis.

Researchers from the Lulea University of Technology in Lulea, Sweden, studied fifteen women who suffered from fibromyalgia. These women were interviewed with questions concerning their experiences with pain and a phenomenological hermeneutic interpretation was used to analyze the interview texts.

The researchers found that many of the women were living with a “double burden” which most defined as having to suffer from a destructive, volatile physical pain as well as be doubted by others as far as the severity of the pain was concerned.

Each participant, however, stated that although the pain was at times excruciating and made the simplest tasks next to impossible, they all attempted to normalize their lives by performing daily chores in an attempt to alleviate the pain and the doubt from others.

The researchers concluded that in order to support the needs of fibromyalgia sufferers, it is necessary for health care professionals to recognize the reality of their experiences, and to sympathize with patients who suffer from an unseen pain.

This study is published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies of Health and Well-being, under the title of “Living with a double burden: Meanings of pain for women with fibromyalgia.”