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Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2011;6(3). doi: 10.3402/qhw.v6i3.7184. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Living with a double burden: Meanings of pain for women with fibromyalgia.

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Division of Nursing, Department of Health Science, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.


Living with fibromyalgia (FM) means living with a chronic pain condition that greatly influences daily life. The majority of people with FM are middle-aged women. The aim of this study was to elucidate meanings of pain for women with FM. Fifteen women with FM were interviewed about their pain experiences and a phenomenological hermeneutic interpretation was used to analyse the interview texts. The findings show that meanings of pain for women with FM can be understood as living with a double burden; living with an aggressive, unpredictable pain and being doubted by others in relation to the invisible pain. The ever-present pain was described as unbearable, overwhelming, and dominated the women's whole existence. Nevertheless, all the women tried to normalize life by doing daily chores in an attempt to alleviate the pain. In order to support the women's needs and help them to feel well despite their pain, it is important that nurses and health care personnel acknowledge and understand women with FM and their pain experiences.


Fibromyalgia; lived experience; pain; phenomenological hermeneutics; women

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