Self-Management 101

by on January 6, 2012

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There are few things related to Fibromyalgia that every recognized expert in the field can agree upon – but the need for patients to embrace Self-Management as a core concept in their approach to treatment is one. Why? Because scientific evidence suggests that a multi-faceted treatment approach is most effective and no other individual on the planet is better positioned to manage such an effort than the patient themselves. The bottom line is simple –  If you suffer from Fibromyalgia and you wish to realize the largest and longest lasting improvements in your symptoms possible,  then embracing the concept of Self-Management should be mandatory.

 I call Fibro the “Elusive Fiend”.  It comes and goes, it brings pain and suffering, there is no cure and it manifests itself differently in each patient. There is no single best accepted treatment approach. There is no one drug that works best. There are no therapies or dietary supplements or exercises we can point too and say “Do this and your guaranteed to be cured”.  It is very difficult to diagnose and more often than not those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia will also be diagnosed with related disorders. Medical doctors struggle to agree on a firm definition or diagnostic process and many continue to deny its existence at all.  It destroys lives and families, crushes dreams, causes confusion and conflict and can frequently lead those who suffer into spiraling declines as they feel crushed by pain and hopelessness. I know this – I have lived it as my wife has suffered for years

Effective treatment –  meaning a significant reduction in symptom severity and improvement in quality of life –  IS possible. People do get better. YOU can get better! Extensive research has documented many things as being effective in treatment, but it has emerged that the best treatment approach will likely be multi-faceted. This means a combination that may consist of pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, alternative therapies, exercise and dietary changes will yield the best results.

The trick to this is determining exactly what combination will work best for you. Everyone with fibro is different. A drug that may yield one patient a 50% reduction in pain may make another feel far worse. This is the reality of our elusive fiend. What works for one often does nothing at all for another and in some cases may make symptoms worse.

There are thousands of drugs and dietary supplements, dozens of therapy options, hundreds of  “alternative medicine” programs, plenty of exercise options, unlimited diet choices and any number of different types of doctors and care professionals who may be able to help.  How does one go about determining from among the seemingly unlimited options what combination will yield the best results for them individually? You guessed it –  by implementing and systemizing a process of self-management.

Your body is different from anyone else’s and so is your Fibro. Nobody else can evaluate how fibro is impacting your life better than you. Nobody else can determine whether something you are trying for treatment is improving your symptoms or not. No doctor will ever be able to devote the time, focus and attention toward evaluating your Fibromyalgia that you can. Nobody else will ever have more motivation than you when it comes to beating fibro. If you want to beat fibro – its up to you,  but that is Good News!

Effective self-management is tough,  but it is my mission to make it easier.  That is the entire purpose of this website.  Self-management requires education, knowledge, systems and tools plus a team approach that will include doctors, therapists, care providers and support groups. Our purpose is to help provide not just information about what you need to do –  but to facilitate how you do it.

For most people,  this is a critical distinction that negatively impacts effective action. Learning about what can be done relative to effective treatment is one thing but taking this knowledge and converting it into an integrated action plan requires a focus on how. How do you manage this on an ongoing basis? How do you determine what to try? How do you evaluate its overall effectiveness? How do you determine what to try in conjunction or next?  The how becomes equally important to the what!  Our purpose is to help provide the how.



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