RED BANK, N.J., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ — The National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) today teamed up with Emmy award-winning life coach and best-selling author Rhonda Britten to launch a new educational campaign to raise awareness of fibromyalgia, one of the most common chronic, widespread pain conditions in the United States, affecting 6 million Americans, primarily women, though men can be affected as well.

The campaign, "Reframe Your Pain," applies a life-coach approach to help women manage fibromyalgia and offers information and support. Through outreach and educational materials, NWHRC and Ms. Britten will help guide women living with fibromyalgia to understand the condition and take an active role in managing their pain while living their lives. The campaign is supported through a sponsorship by Pfizer Inc.

"Fibromyalgia can take freedom away from people living with the chronic pain condition," says Ms. Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute and lead spokesperson in the "Reframe Your Pain" campaign. "People in pain often have to make difficult choices — such as sacrificing work or family time to make it through the day — because of their pain and limited reserves of strength and energy. Self awareness and learning how to take small steps in planning, and how to cope when plans change because of the pain, are important ways to manage energy and help reclaim some of that freedom."

Characterized by widespread chronic pain, and often accompanied by poor sleep, fatigue and morning stiffness, fibromyalgia is thought to result from neurological changes in how patients perceive pain. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be highly debilitating and distressing and can have a significant impact on women's lives, including their relationships and ability to work and engage in everyday activities.

"Chronic pain isn't always consistent and can be frustrating to understand — some days, a person with fibromyalgia may feel all right and on other days she might wake up in agony," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, R.N., executive director, National Women's Health Resource Center. "Knowledge is power, and we hope this program will help motivate women with fibromyalgia to listen to their bodies, take good care of themselves — even if it means putting themselves first — and surround themselves with a support network of encouraging people."

Survey Shows Pain Impacts Energy Levels, Relationships with Friends and Family

A new survey of nearly 500 women, to assess the impact of different types of pain, shows that pain affects multiple aspects of life for women over the age of 30, from energy levels to relationships with friends and family. In fact, half of women over age 30 say pain often or sometimes poses limitations on what they want to do, and more than half of women work through their pain, but managing pain is an important step for people to reclaim their lives and take control. Women under age 50 are most likely to feel that pain affects energy levels (81 percent) and relationships with family (65 percent) and friends (64 percent).

The survey also found that women can do a better job of listening to their bodies, as physical symptoms were the least likely to be considered for women when making everyday decisions. Women reported they were far more likely to listen to their heads (69 percent) and hearts (37 percent) than their bodies (24 percent).

A Treatable Medical Condition

"In my practice, I see many women who have denied their chronic pain or associated it with stress or their lifestyle, but fibromyalgia is a treatable medical condition," said Dr. Cassandra Curtis, neurologist in the American Health Network in Indianapolis. "It's important for women to talk to their physicians about their pain, and in turn for healthcare professionals to be partners in helping to manage the condition. The prognosis for people with fibromyalgia has never been better."

Following a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, women can work in partnership with their physicians and healthcare professionals to manage the condition through individualized therapeutic strategies, which may include lifestyle measures (such as exercise, nutrition and relaxation techniques), behavioral support and/or medication.

About the Survey

The general public awareness survey was conducted by GfK Roper among 496 women over age 30 in the United States, to assess the impact of pain on their lives. The survey took place from April 11 to April 13, 2008. The maximum expected sample error for a simple random sample of this size is +/- 5 percentage points. The survey was commissioned on behalf of the National Women's Health Resource Center, sponsored by Pfizer.

About The National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC)

The not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center is the leading independent health information source for women. NWHRC develops and distributes up-to-date and objective women's health information based on the latest advances in medical research and practice, all of which is reviewed by leading medical specialists in the field. NWHRC believes all women should have access to the most trusted and reliable health information. Information empowers women to make the best decisions to maintain and improve their health and the health of their families.

For more information about the educational campaign and fibromyalgia, including Ms. Britten's tips on managing the condition, please visit http://www.healthywomen.org.

SOURCE National Women's Health Resource Center

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