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Reading Aids and Fibromyalgia Syndrome

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 9 Oct 2023 |
Fibromyalgia Syndrome Reading Pain

Fibromyalgia syndrome can cause problems with reading, ranging from simply the strength and muscle effort required to hold a book up, through visual problems such as double vision, blurred vision and floaters, to ‘fibrofog’, which can cause problems with concentration and comprehension. There are a number of reading aids and a few hints and tips that can help.

Book Supports

Because fibromyalgia syndrome causes muscle and joint pain and fatigue, sometimes just holding a book, even a small one, causes pain and tiredness. Try supporting a book on your lap with a stack of small cushions or bags filled with rice or wheat (pop these in the microwave for a moment or two beforehand, and they will release a gentle heat too). An alternative is a lap tray with a beanbag type base, or a mobile table that is designed to sit close to a chair. Simple v-shaped book holders made from wire or flexible plastic will hold paperbacks and small hardback books open.

There are bookstands that can sit on a desk or table. These could be those designed for people with disabilities, or simply one that is designed for a cook to hold a cookbook open in the kitchen, or for a student or typist to hold a book open on a desk. Some of these include a book clip that holds the pages open and can be used to follow the text, which is useful for people with fibromyalgia syndrome who have problems with text appearing to move, or who are struggling with ‘fibrofog’. There are also bookstands that are floor-standing, and these can be angled for reading or writing when standing, sitting or lying down, though these can be expensive.

You may need more than one for different places and times – try different types to see which is the most suitable. Look out for ones where the angle can be adjusted to make the text easier to see, or ones that can fold away in a handbag or briefcase.

Tinted Glasses

Some people with fibromyalgia syndrome are sensitive to bright light and find that the glare from a book causes eyestrain, headaches and tiredness, or is just very distracting. Wearing tinted glasses may cut down on the glare and make reading more comfortable and less tiring.

Reading Glasses

Fibromyalgia syndrome can cause blurred vision, and this can change from day to day. Some people find that having a number of pairs of reading glasses with different prescription strengths can help. These may be from an optician, or bought in a local shop or supermarket.

Good Lighting

Having good lighting, for example a reading light that can be angled, can help make reading easier. A low-energy daylight simulation bulb provides a white light, and can also help with seasonal affective disorder (low mood and tiredness during the winter). There are battery-powered book lights that clip on to the page – these are ideal for reading at night without disturbing a sleeping partner.

Some Hints and Tips

If concentration is a problem, find somewhere quiet with no noise or other distractions. Make sure that you are warm and comfortable – and a cup of tea always helps!

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Bazernie - 9-Oct-23 @ 2:33 PM
I need help with house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping.Is there a agency that can help me. I'm already disabled, and have open medicare.
Jennie - 23-Jul-17 @ 2:37 PM
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