Typically fibromyalgia is a disease that affects women, but there are about 10% of men as well. Though it is difficult for women to deal with the pain, physically and emotionally, it can be even harder for men to deal with. Men are suppose to be the “tough” ones. They are the “bread winners” most of the time and they don’t have time to take off of work for the pain. The end result of being “off” for too long could be losing their job. Men have fears of not only losing their jobs, but losing their spouse and friends. Some doctors think that these “phantom” aches and pains could be all in their head since there is no medical proof of having FM. Men fear that they will lose everything in life because they cannot function. They feel like half a man.
What is a man to do that has fibromyalgia? Many men are too afraid to seek medical help, but it is important to do so. Doctors that specialize in FM have the knowledge and training to try to manage their pain. There are drugs that can lessen the pain, massage, and exercises that can help make it possible to have somewhat of a “normal” life.
If a man is afraid of losing his job, he should look into FMLA at his work. It is the Family and Medical Leave Act. Most employers must offer this to their employees that have disabilities, either themselves or a family member. This would give the employee up to 12 weeks paid medical leave a year, without losing their job. This is great peace of mind knowing that if you don’t feel well enough to work that you won’t have to worry about losing your job as well.
I would encourage men to look to the internet at some websites, if they aren’t interested in seeing a doctor for help or support. Menwithfibro.com is a great resource and has real life stories of men that have fibromyalgia and how they deal with it. Thefibroguy.com is also a great website. Adam Foster (The Fibro Guy) a personal trainer who has experienced chronic pain himself has helped endless numbers of people with his program to achieve a better life for themselves. He has a documentary called “The Invisible Monster”.