SOURCE: National Fibromyalgia Association and American Pain Foundation

May 12, 2011 08:00 ET

New Survey of People with Fibromyalgia or Another Chronic Pain Condition Shows the Devastating Impact on Pivotal Life Decisions and Everyday Activities

National Fibromyalgia Association and American Pain Foundation Highlight the Magnitude of Fibromyalgia and Other Chronic Pain Conditions around National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 12, 2011) - The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and American Pain Foundation (APF) announced today results of a new survey that reveals the debilitating effects of diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions on the lives of sufferers. The survey looked at the impact that living with a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, can have on everyday tasks, parenting, relationships and life decisions. The survey results and additional resources on fibromyalgia are available at www.FibroCenter.com/survey.

The online survey, completed by 3,018 people living with diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions (2,559 people diagnosed with fibromyalgia), unveiled concerns, including:

  • Almost 9 in 10 respondents (approximately 87%) feel they are no longer the person they were before they started living with chronic pain

  • Nearly all respondents (92%) report their condition has had a significant impact on major life decisions, including whether to initiate or remain in a relationship, change jobs and/or have children

  • Of the more than 650 respondents who have children currently under the age of 18, 95% report their pain condition affects at least one of their parenting duties, such as taking care of daily household and childcare needs, enjoying their children's milestones or managing their children's activities/scheduling

  • Approximately 7 in 10 survey respondents (68%) agree that pain limits their ability to care for their family

  • Nearly all respondents (approximately 98%) report they have implemented some type of adaptation to their daily routine in order to conduct activities and tasks; three-quarters of respondents have made three or more daily adjustments

"It took two long, painful years and countless doctor visits before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but our survey respondents had an even lengthier process -- their average time to receive a diagnosis was three years," said Lynne Matallana, M.S., President and Founder, NFA. "My diagnosis has allowed me to work towards managing my pain more effectively, so I know first-hand how important it is to receive one. It is our hope that enhanced awareness and education will help shorten this journey for others."

"Through my clinical experience and advocacy work, I have seen the significant impact that fibromyalgia and other persistent pain conditions have on everyday activities that others without pain take for granted -- such as holding your child, walking your dog or cooking a family meal," said Micke Brown, BSN, RN, Director of Communications for APF and past president for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing. "Hopefully, a greater awareness of the impact of pain conditions such as fibromyalgia will empower others to advocate for their health, talk frankly with their healthcare providers, and speak out about their right to receive timely and appropriate pain care."

The survey is part of an educational initiative, "The Faces of Fibromyalgia," that launched today through the NFA and APF. The survey was developed through collaboration among the NFA, APF and Pfizer Inc. The initiative seeks to unveil the effects of chronic pain on the daily lives of those suffering and provide a platform for discourse between healthcare providers, caregivers and people living with chronic pain. Fibromyalgia is a common pain condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness lasting for three or more months. Visit www.FibroCenter.com/survey for additional survey results; for more information on fibromyalgia and other resources, visit www.FMaware.org and www.painfoundation.org.

About the Survey
The survey, conducted online in March 2011 by Synovate Healthcare, was taken by 3,018 adults living in the US with diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition. 2,559 respondents have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional with fibromyalgia; 459 are living with chronic pain without a diagnosis. The average age of the respondents was 51; approximately 91% of respondents were female. The survey was developed through collaboration among the National Fibromyalgia Association, American Pain Foundation and Pfizer Inc.

About Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a common pain condition in the US affecting more than five million Americans, mostly women. It is characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness lasting for three or more months. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is still not fully known, some research shows that fibromyalgia may be caused by abnormalities in how the body processes and responds to pain, particularly a heightened sensitivity to stimuli that are not normally painful. Living with fibromyalgia can be a challenge, but there are steps people can take to help manage the condition, including lifestyle changes, gentle exercise and prescription treatment options.

About the National Fibromyalgia Association
The National Fibromyalgia Association was founded in 1997 as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization in order to raise awareness and to provide patients with information and resources in order to help the members of this community who were under-recognized and underserved. Over the past fourteen years the organization has made great inroads by developing and executing programs that have allowed it to carry out its mission to help improve the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia. More information can be found on its website at www.FMAware.org.

About the American Pain Foundation
Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation (APF) is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that serves people affected by pain. APF speaks out for people living with pain, caregivers, healthcare providers and allied organizations, working together to dismantle the barriers that impede access to quality pain care for all. The mission of APF is to educate, support and advocate for people affected by pain. For more information, visit www.painfoundation.org.