Here is a recent article I wrote…
Although you will probably never see the advice I provide in this article on the runways at New York Fashion Week, if you have Fibromyalgia you will want to pay close attention.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes widespread muscle pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, sleep disorders and other symptoms. The pain experienced by Fibromyalgia patients is not a pain that is easy to describe or easy to treat. It is believed that in Fibromyalgia patients, the brain sends out signals to the body that causes the patient to feel more pain than they should. For example, if someone walks up to me and just places a hand on my shoulders or back, I jump because the pain is so bad. So you can just imagine what it is like trying to find clothes and dress properly without causing pain.
I am not a fashion expert or anything of the sort, nor do I pretend to be. To me the important thing is to be comfortable and to not be in pain so whatever I have to wear to achieve that is what I purchase.
I have talked to many Fibromyalgia patients who do not wear undergarments at all when they are at home due to pain. Pajamas in cotton and flannel that are drawstring are the perfect comfortable Fibromyalgia patient’s dream while at home. Many of us spend a lot of time in our pajamas because of being sick so much. I spend just as much time and effort shopping for pajamas as what I do for regular clothes.
Bras and Underwear
I have personally found that cotton is the most comfortable way to go with underwear, or a satiny type material. With underwear, I have found it best to purchase panties that do not come up over my abdomen. The elastic waistband hurts my stomach, causes pressure and I am miserable. Bikini underwear, thongs, anything like that is out for me – ouch.
For bras, give up the underwire. I know underwire provides support and keeps the goods from sagging later in life, but for me I personally would rather be pain-free now and comfortable now. There are bras that offer support these days without the underwire.
I also went and had a store clerk at Lane Bryant measure me to determine if I was wearing the right size bra and I found out I wasn’t. If your band is too tight that can cause added tension, pressure and pain to your body. Check out the many types of bras that are available and feel the fabrics and the cups. Do they feel soft? Do they feel as though they would not cause any scratchiness or pressure?
Socks & Pantyhose
One of the most sensitive areas on my body due to Fibromyalgia pain is my lower legs. I have found that the only type of socks that I can comfortably wear is anklets or anything that does not extend over the calf area. A light cotton sock that is not too heavy is what I look for.
I haven’t worn a pair of pantyhose for quite a few years. Just thinking about pantyhose makes me hurt! If it is the summertime, go without and show your bare legs. If it is the wintertime and you have to dress up for something, wear a longer dress and if you are able to stand the pressure, wear knee-highs that go up to your calves.
Pants and Skirts
I hardly ever wear jeans anymore. I love jeans and the way I look in them, but I am just too miserable. I will wear jeans on a rare occasion and when I do I find that I can’t want to get home to get them off.
I choose pants and skirts that are loose-fitting at the waist. I have a nice collection of drawstring exercise pants that have become my best wardrobe friends. For skirts, I have some elastic waistband but not the tight-fitting elastic. Silky-type skirts with elastic waistbands seem to be the most comfortable.
Shirts and Sweaters
Typically shirts that are a size too big feel the most comfortable and do not cause pain. Bulky sweaters are out of the question, as the weight of the sweater seems to put pressure on tender points. Again, cotton blends, silky type materials are the best.
I always try to have a few button-up shirts around too for the days when I’m in too much pain and lifting my hands over my head to put a pullover shirt on is impossible and too painful. I purchase these in a size too large also.
If you have to wear dresses for your job, choose something that flows and does not have elastic around the middle. Lightweight materials are the most comfortable. If I have to dress up in the winter, I will wear a lightweight dress but add a nice shawl to keep me warm.
So these are my “fashion tips” for the Fibromyalgia patient. Who knows, maybe we will start a new trend that will catch on across America!
This post is featured on the How to Cope With Pain Blog Carnival for February.
How to Cope with Pain isnowoffering a monthly Pain-Blog Carnival during the last week of every month, to include each month’s best posts. February’scarnival is nowposted. New bloggers are always welcome to contribute.