A Fibromyalgia Doctor's Advice for Dealing with the Physical Tasks of Daily Life
by Dr. Mark J Pellegrino, MD*
April 21, 2010
A Fibromyalgia Doctors Advice for Dealing with the Physical Tasks of Daily Life
A specialist in musculoskeletal function and pain (Physiatry), fibromyalgia doctor Mark Pellegrino suggests many “basics” that can help those with FM and other painful conditions to approach daily chores in ways that are kinder to the muscles. An FM patient himself, he knows that ‘every little bit helps.'
Whoever invented fibromyalgia never had to vacuum!
Chores can be a difficult challenge for someone with fibromyalgia. I always ask my patients if their fibromyalgia interferes with activities in the house and they almost always tell me “yes” (even the men!). The bending, reaching, lifting, and pulling required of these tasks causes increased pain and often leads to painful flare-ups. The fibromyalgia homemaker/maintainer is faced with the dilemma of wanting to have a clean home, but not having the physical abilities to complete these tasks without pain. What can you do?
1. Stop doing housework altogether. Yes, just go on strike! See if the work gets done by others. Watch as nothing gets done and your house becomes a health hazard! You can’t stop everything, but daily or weekly tasks can be analyzed to determine if they can be done less frequently. Consider a rotating system where different parts of the house are cleaned on different days and not all at once. Instead of doing one heavy task in one day, spread it out into several mini-tasks over the course of a week.
Your whole house may not be perfectly clean all the time, but parts of your house are perfect every day!
2. Have someone else do it, with you supervising. This is a good way to teach responsibility to your children (or your spouse, the biggest kid of all). The shared housework concept divides the responsibilities among the entire family, and you do the share of tasks that you can comfortably handle.
The heavier tasks (vacuuming, carrying laundry loads) should be delegated to other family members. You supervise - and be sure to look busy at all times!
3. Pay someone else to do it, if you can afford it. Try to have the paid person come weekly or every other week to do the major cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming. You can do the minor “touch-up” work in between visits. Bribe your kids to work cheap!
4. Modify the way you are doing particular tasks. This allows you to continue doing the homemaking, but do it in a way that is kinder to your muscles. Since homemaking chores are done with your body in unusual and awkward positions that aggravate your fibromyalgia, proper attention must be paid to "fibronomics."
Four Rules of Fibronomics
1. Arms stay home.
2. Unload the back.
3. Support always welcome.
4. Be naturally shifty.