Fibromyalgia: Suzanne's story 

Suzanne has fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body. She describes how it affected her and how it can be treated.

Find out how to diagnose fibromyalgia

Transcript of Fibromyalgia: Suzanne's story

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

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