Bethany C. Fitzmaurice, Rebecca L. Grenfell, Nicola R. Heneghan, Asius T. A. Rayen, Andrew A. Soundy

The Fibromyalgia Decomposition Phenomenon: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • General Psychology
  • Genetics
  • Development
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Research is needed that can provide an illustration of the different biopsychosocial and environmental experiences of people with fibromyalgia to consider how healthcare professionals can best engage with the challenges that are faced. Qualitative research is well-positioned to do this. The current study used interpretive hermeneutic phenomenology situated within a pragmatic worldview, the aim being to obtain a deeper exploration of the fibromyalgia experience prior to commencing a novel intervention. A purposive sample of individuals with fibromyalgia were selected to undertake a single interview. The interviews were analysed using a thematic analysis. The themes identified key processes of the experience. A total of 16 participants (mean age: 47.1 years) took part. Three themes and 15 sub-themes were identified, together with a process linking different experiences together. The research from this small cohort provides a clear identification of multiple components influencing the experience of fibromyalgia and the decisions around lifestyle and choices made. From this, a novel decomposition/recomposition spiral has been identified, which will benefit patients and healthcare professionals alike. An earlier diagnosis and, thus, earlier and broader treatment options can help to improve functional outcomes.

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