Men [with fibromyalgia] often feel broken, even suicidal,” says Gavin Levy, an Austin, Texas-based writer who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia four years ago, at age 33. “We’ve all been there. It feels like your masculinity has been taken away to a degree. You are a provider and protector, then suddenly that role is reversed.”
The most important thing a man with fibromyalgia can do, Pellegrino emphasizes, is to get diagnosed. The sooner that happens, the sooner he can start treatment.
Living With Fibromyalgia
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are medications that can help curb its symptoms. Equally important, though, are lifestyle changes. Exercising and eating well are essential, says Yunus.
“There is a clear relationship between overweight and pain and fatigue. Overweight is a risk factor for fibromyalgia,” Yunus says. A recent study linked obesity and a greater chance of having fibromyalgia. That does not mean that everyone with fibromyalgia is overweight, or that extra pounds, by themselves, cause fibromyalgia.
Wold hits the treadmill for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. He also does some light weightlifting to keep his strength up and his own weight down. He even gets out on the golf course once in a while, knowing that it will wear him out.
“When I’m done, it makes me feel better,” he says. “It reminds me that a little of my old life is still there.”