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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Felicia Fibro - Life with fibromyalgia, EMPOWERED!

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Giving CPR with Fibromyalgia

Recently I took a child and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification class. While practicing the techniques on adult and child dummies I realized just how physical of a task providing CPR is. Of course, that means that it is rougher on my body than the average person. I want to share with you some of what I learned and some suggestions of ways to modify basic CPR techniques if you needed to – in order to be able to continue providing life saving services in an emergency.

This post is mostly about ways we can more easily provide life-saving compressions despite having a chronic pain condition. For more information on CPR see the American Heart Association video I included below. I’m skipping over many aspects of how to use CPR in an emergency, such as assessing the situation, calling 911, using an AED and giving rescue breaths.

The accepted guidelines for giving compressions to the chest of an adult or child are that you place the heel of your hand in the center of the person’s chest. Then you put your second hand on top of the first and interlace your fingers. By locking your elbows you can use your upper body weight to make the compressions instead of your arms. You are to make 100 compressions per minute without interruption, about two inches (or 1/3 the diameter) into the chest. Often times you hear the suggestion to make compressions to the tune of the song “Stayin’ Alive.” This is very tiring and if you’re the only person onsite that knows how to do this, you may be doing it for quite awhile before more help arrives. These compressions really made my hands hurt because of my fibromyalgia, but switching the order of the top and bottom of my hands occasionally, while giving compressions, helped some. The very first compression I did made my wrist pop =)

The accepted guidelines for giving compressions to an infant (under 1 year old) are that you place two finger tips on the breastbone, just below the nipple line. The compressions are also at the rate of 100 per minute and at least 1/3 the diameter of the chest down, about 1.5 inches. I found this very hard on my fingers, especially having longer fingernails. I talked with the instructor about other ideas and he thought the next best way would be to a one or two knuckles or the pad of your thumb. The main thing when using those methods are to make sure you are still positioned in the correct area. I hope these tips are helpful to you should you ever need to perform CPR.

Have you been trained in CPR?


Comment from Annie aka FevversAB
Time December 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

This is fantastic to know! You ask great questions. Also, inspiring. :)


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks, Annie! I hadn’t planned on writing about this, but once I took the class I knew I had to share some of the modifications that seemed to help me.


Comment from Elaine
Time December 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for this. I have taken CPR training in the past but it has been years ago. It was great to put this refresher in my mind.


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Our instructor talked about the need to refresh our minds as well. He told us to take out our booklet and read it every time we change our smoke detector batteries.


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