Helping Your Child With Fibromyalgia
Nothing makes you feel as helpless as watching your child suffer. You agonize as you witness your child’s pain and disability and feel desperate to find something, anything, you might do to alleviate his suffering. You can’t take away his fibromyalgia, but there are things you can do to help—things that can help to mitigate his pain. Read on for practical steps you can take that really work.
Belief-When your child tells you he doesn’t feel well and his symptoms seem vague, the most important thing you can do is to believe him. Your belief in your child includes making him aware of treatment options and other choices related to his quality of life. Let him be a part of the decision-making process. Explain the medical tests and procedures and show him the light at the end of the tunnel.
Symptom Journal-Teach your child to record his daily symptoms. Your child can report on the impact of specific activities, changes in sleep habits, diet, stress, and changes in medication. This teaches your child to be in touch with what he experiences, making him better able to explain his symptoms to his physician, and also helps him to make educated choices about his lifestyle and treatment options.
Update The School-Make sure that all of your children’s educators, the school nurse, and his guidance counselor understand that your child’s condition is real and that he is under a doctor’s care for FM, or at least on the road to a diagnosis. Enlist their aid and ask them to tell you about any changes they note in your child.
Physical Therapy-Find a physical therapist who understands pediatric FM and who can develop a gentle exercise routine that will help your child stay flexible and functioning. The aim should be to find the highest level of activity your child can manage without causing a setback. The therapist may be able to minimize your child’s pain and improve his balance.
See A Dietician-If you suspect that diet plays a part in your child’s symptoms, for instance, nausea, migraines, tremors, or irritable bowel syndrome, take your child for a consult with a dietician.
Emotional Support-Talk to your physician about a referral to a mental health professional who has experience with chronic pediatric illness. Your entire family might benefit from working with a social worker or other professional who can guide you through the difficulties of having FM or of being a family member with the condition. A trained professional can help you learn good strategies for coping with the impact of FM.
Ease His Social Life-Make it easy for your child to have friends over for quiet, fun activities so he doesn’t get left out. He needs his friends now more than ever before.