Fibromyalgia

Hi, I'm Suzanne, I'm 44 years old.

I've had fibromyalgia
for about 13 years now.

But I've only been diagnosed
for seven of those years.

Fibromyalgia is a condition
that affects your muscles

and your ligaments and tendons.

Sort of the soft tissues
in your body really.

You also get lots of other things
that run alongside it.

Like a lot of fatigue.

A lot of people manage their chronic
condition with lots of medications.

Also over-the-counter stuff
as well as prescribed medications.

I tend to handle it more
with using a positive frame of mind.

I use a lot of visualisation
and guided imagery.

You know, just trying to be positive.

Something that really helped me
to turn my life around really

was finding out
about the expert patient programme.

Literally, I saw an advert in
a newspaper about this programme

on how you can manage
a long-term condition.

And just by going to that
and talking to them

and each time we went,

there was a certain topic
that we would concentrate on

like talking to your doctors,
finding ways to be positive.

And doing things like relaxation
just sort of made me realise that,

Yes, there is more
that I can be doing for myself.

Because this made me
a lot more positive,

I actually thought
it was a good idea

that there should be a support group for
people with the condition that I had.

So that really led to me helping with
other people to start a support group.

The hydrotherapy group
I actually started myself.

I knew that hot water helped me.

When I had a hot bath or a hot shower,

it really did help
to ease the pain that I was in.

I know people who had been offered
hydrotherapy treatment

for their fibromyalgia through the NHS
and their doctors' surgeries

but weren't actually able to
either take up that

because they couldn't get to the pool

or they'd maybe only have ten
or 15 minutes when they got there.

So initially, it was a case of
ringing all the places I could think

might have a pool warm enough

because a normal bog-standard pool
is not warm enough for us to use.

I think if anybody thinks that
they may have this condition

or may have
a family member or friend with it,

I would say
the first place to look

is the Fibromyalgia Association website.

That's FMA UK.

There's lots of information on there.

They could send you out a pack.

So you've actually got
the information in front of you

and to take that information to your
doctor or health care professional.

NHS CHOICES

FOR MORE INFORMATION,
VISIT WWW.NHS.UK