I Choose Comfort

I Choose Comfort

Christine Tender Points
What most people experience as mild discomfort, I find painful. Much of the time there’s not much I can do about it. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is the great amplifier. It exaggerates everything — especially pain. But, when there are choices to make, I’ll choose comfort every time.

Take clothing, for example. Every little thing about it bothers me. But, because I don’t live on a deserted tropical island, it’s not really a choice. So I deal with it the best I can.

The most annoying thing about most clothes are their labels. Before wearing any new garment, I wash out the excess chemicals and cut off all the tags. Even the tiniest piece left behind (especially in the back of the neck) will scratch me silly during every wearing until I finally refuse to wear it at all. And because the stitching used to hold those labels in place is sturdier than any other stitching used in the garment, removing it is not always easy. As a result, I own several items of clothing with a tell-tale hole positioned precisely in the middle of the back of the neck.

For years, I opted to go braless. I wasn’t making a statement — although it may have been perceived that way. It’s because I hated that band around my middle. Sadly, the years have taken their toll on “the girls,” and they really do need some support to be presentable. That elastic becomes annoying after about an hour of wearing, just about the time the shoulder straps start digging trenches in my shoulders. Needless to say, removing my bra is the first thing I do when I get home for the day. I often wonder about those fainting couches that were popular in Victorian times. Might they have been designed for ladies with fibromyalgia? It’s hard to imagine how painful a corset must have been if I can barely tolerate wearing a bra.

I wish someone would invent extenders for elastic waists. They’re never stretchy enough for me. The item can fit fine in every other way, but the elastic waist is painfully tight. I’ve been known to slit the elastic on a brand new item, especially if it’s something I like very much and it fits well otherwise. I know I won’t wear it if it hurts. Better to destroy the waist and cover it with a sweater than to let it hang in the closet until it goes out of style.

Speaking of style: Pretty shoes are just a pleasant memory for me. If shoes don’t feel like sneakers, I’m not wearing them. They hurt! I watch women walk down the street in 5-inch heels, and I wonder why they’re intentionally suffering. Yes, those shoes make their legs look longer. But is it worth the “agony of de-feet?” (Sorry, bad joke.) I’ve even seen high heels worn at a park — a place where you go to walk! Perhaps it’s old age in addition to fibromyalgia, but my mantra is: If they’re not comfortable, they’re not for me.

I don’t understand thongs at all. I see the allure for men. After all, they’re only looking, not wearing them. I suppose they make sense in the bedroom (for short-term wear). I’m all for anything that adds to pleasure. But are panty lines ugly enough to justify possible infection and/or hemorrhoids from wearing those painful things/thongs on a regular basis? Not for me! It hurts me just to look at them.

I also cannot tolerate the discomfort of contact lenses. When I was younger and only needed glasses for distance, I wore one contact on social occasions. It was amazing to me that my eyes could adjust to such a thing, but they did. I could see just fine. Unfortunately, that single lens migrated up and under my upper eyelid on three separate occasions. Each time it was a painful, panicky experience requiring assistance from an optometrist. I chose to go back to wearing glasses. The price of vanity was just too high.

Here’s the worst part for me. Even if someone were to invent a drug that was effective at lessening my sensitivity to pain, I probably couldn’t take it. My body is intolerant of most medications. Side effects from drugs are just one more thing that fibromyalgia exaggerates for me.

Unless and until medical research finds a cure for fibromyalgia, I’ve resigned myself to some degree of pain in my life. By utilizing the many techniques I’ve learned, I can usually keep it down to a tolerable level. What I won’t do is add to it by making uncomfortable choices.


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Teresa says:

    Christine, you nailed everything in this article: tags on clothing, esp at the neck but also at the waist or on the side. I go bra less most of time except when going out. Elastic waistbands that are too tight. Shoes are particularly bad bc I also have CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). My right leg from my foot to my lower back is swollen, numb, shooting pain due to back surgery I had in Jan 2017. Fortunately I can wear contact lens comfortably. It never occurred to me that side effects of drugs would also be amplified. You really nailed it there. On only 300 mg of gabapentin, I experienced heightened side effects. The doctors have treated me like I was crazy. I weaned off it anyway. Not worth the side effects. Not to mention the fact that I continued to require higher doses to have an effect on the level of pain I experienced. I can’t imagine what the side effects might have been at 2700 mg!!! Thank you for shedding light on the effects of medication.

  2. Donna G says:

    OMG!! You are a carbon copy of me! You have just explained my life! When I was a kid I would have melt down after melt down!!!
    My clothes had to fit perfect. My mother made me wear an undershirt that always bunched up under my outer shirt. This is called Sensory Integration, sensory intollerance. That goes for everythig thing us Fibro patients are intolerate to. I learned about this when my daughter #2 was evluated in preschool. she had speech delay,low muscle tone I wish I could explain it all to you. I think a treatment to this it is called the Wilbarger Brushing program.
    Please contact me if you would like to talk more. I haven’t worn a bra in 19 yrs. I wear a tank top everyday under my shirt so you don’t notice the obvious as much. I try to find shirts with a pattern. not always possible. I remember the days when I dressed nice. now dressing up is a chore! There are very few styles i can wear because of this. I can’t wear dress shoes at all anymore. Gym shoes only (white) & the exact same style. I worry what I will look like when my daughters get married. I wonder what I will wear & what I will look like. I usually have a hole in my shirts where I carefully cut the tag out but still end up cutting the fabric. When I was diagnosed with Fibro & found out about sensory integration I said I wish my mother was alive to get the answers to many issues. I too have alleries to or intolerance to all pain meds except morphine. However I had it recently & had bad chest pain. But considered a side effect.What do I do If i hve an accident or major surgery. I have food & inviromentel sensitivity. I have so many issues I have it all written down about 3-4 pages of meds, procedures done, surgeries & more. I can’t remember any of it. That’s what you didn’t mention memory loss. Call me 10 second Donna. Literally. I have good & bad days. My family gets so frustrated with me. The thing about Fibro & Chronic fatigue-it won’t kill you but ruin your life!

  3. Tracy says:

    Clothing has always been my bane! I too rush home to “free” the girls from the torture! Elastic waist bands can be great, but also a pain, I fit just fine in the morning, but by the evening I am sometimes a size or two larger from bloating! I definitely wear clothing for comfort!

  4. Sally Ferguson says:

    I too choose comfort. I’ve found bamboo to be a fabric that really works for me. I’m lucky enough to work (shoot, I’m lucky enough to be able to work at all!) in a field where I’m not required to where business clothes. Recently I discovered some bamboo PJs with drawstring pants that I can get away with wearing to work (or at least, no one’s said anything yet!) I bought them in every color. Also, when it comes to bras, I’m the same way. I don’t know if mentioning brands is a faux pas, but I decided to try to buttery soft bras from True and Co. They’re terrific. I buy them a size large. They’re a bit less supportive but they don’t bind at all. Their cami in the same fabric is great – in a size up it’s not at all tight in the midsection. Finally, I moved a recliner into my office, and a floor lamp with dimmable lights so I’m not subjected to the nasty overhead fluorescent lights. Ok, those are some of my comfort tips! Thanks for the column!

  5. Elayne Coakes says:

    Some suggestions here that might help. Try sports bras. They have wide straps and are soft. Shoes with memory foam are great and some are quitr pretty. And add some elastic to your waist bands, easy to buy and easy to sew on. I do this all the time.

  6. Tracy says:

    I cannot nod in agreement enough. I’m sure my co-workers think I have odd wardrobe choices, but I need to wear something as close to pajamas to work as possible. I just don’t have tolerance anymore for clothing that hurts me. Number one offender: underwires. I’m going to all stretchy sports bras and the heck with it.

  7. Janice says:

    Amen, Christine!
    I have resorted to wearing teen bras (for only 2 hours, once a week). They look like tube tops, but loose and removable pads (Walmart, $7.00).
    I wear oversized Granny underwear and oversized sweats.
    There are days when I can’t stand the look of myself and tend to think I look more like a man now than a woman! I clean up for Church, but if they could only see me now!! Yikes!!

  8. Diane says:

    Ahhh, I’m not alone! I have more underpants with the elastic waists slashed, I cannot stand anything remotely tight on my waist. I’d rather use safety pins to adjust the loose fit I’d created. I also have to wear most of my pajamas inside out because the seams are too scratchy and irritating. Same thing with all labels. So many garments are just uncomfortable due to the way they’re made. Forget bras ugh. Shoes, nothing but soft padded flats for me. I’ve given up on anything fashionable, it’s not worth the pain.

    • Sally Ferguson says:

      Oh, someone else who;s walking around with their clothes inside out! Even the softest bathrobe has to be turned inside out for me. Blankets with seams along the edges likewise. It really is a comfort, no pun intended, to find others making the same life adjustments I am. I guess Mom was right, misery really does love company. Wishing you many comforts!

  9. Grace from Australia says:

    Tags – evil! Love it that some are now printed inside so I don’t have to pick the threads after cutting most of it.
    Bras – evil!Only wear them when I go out as even comfort bras sit too tight.
    Undies – evil unless a size too big.
    Pretty high heeled shoes – evil. And after breaking my foot last winter even the small heels are too painful. Actually my feet are always hurting no matter what I wear.
    Yes, you are so right

  10. I could not agree more,about all of the comments !! I have more tops with holes in them.It really bothers me,when I ruin something that a paid a little more then usual for.I don’t really go out that often,to places where I have to dress up,(Hardly ever) so I’m good.Ditto for bras,shoes,tight clothing etc. I often wondered what the hell is wrong with me !! Well, it’s fibro. Grrrr!!!!! They say,it won’t kill us. I have news for “THEM”, It has taken my life away.Slowly and painfully.Sorry for the rant,and thank you for being there my fellow WARRIORS. God Bless !!!!!

  11. Marina Lambert says:

    I agree with the comments. But just Wondered if anyone has to pad up their mattress. Mines like the one from ‘ the princess and the pea’. And still have difficulties with comfort.

  12. Jennie Garland says:

    Yup I agree…before I thought it was my neuropathy and my sensitive skin…which means every single pair of pants must have elastene in them and NO rear pockets…have to unpick every single one…however unless I wear G-string (what we call them on Oz) undies the burning drives me beserk…although at home no undies and cotton jersey PJ pants are the go and no bra at home!! Yup tags are a nightmare and I too have the tell tale holes from persistent threads! I also have to make special cotton jersey zip up sheet cover to go over memory foam overlay on bed plus jersey top sheet.

  13. Jennie Garland says:

    Yup I agree…before I thought it was my neuropathy and my sensitive skin…which means every single pair of pants must have elastene in them and NO rear pockets…have to unpick every single one…however unless I wear G-string (what we call them on Oz) undies the burning drives me beserk…although at home no undies and cotton jersey PJ pants are the go and no bra at home!! Yup tags are a nightmare and I too have the tell tale holes from persistent threads! I also have to make special cotton jersey zip up sheet cover to go over memory foam overlay on bed plus jersey top sheet. So maybe it is Fibromyalgia I have.

  14. patricia fraser says:

    You all have said it all, thought it was just me. Where do I get pants that are warm, cannot stand waist, going shopping food or clothing is a major task, so is taking a shower. The bra issue: why do we worry about our boobs? I wear a tank top under my clothes, I have been referred to as a man, too bad. My vision is also going to hell because of my dry eyes, go to the Dry Eye Shop for help on this one. I have to wear onion goggles because my eyes are so dry, so I look like Zorro. Too tired to write more, thank for info. Patty

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