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Steven P. Stanos, DO

Steven P. Stanos, DO currently serves as Executive Medical Director of Rehabilitation and Performance Medicine, Swedish Pain Services at the Swedish Health System in Seattle, Washington. Aside from directing pain management services for the hospital system, he also leads Swedish's pain rehabilitation center, Functional Restoration, an integral part of the pain medicine continuum of care. In addition to his work with Swedish Health System, he is active with committees work at Providence St. Joseph Health related to the system integration of pain management including primary and specialty care. Prior to joining Swedish and Providence, he served as medical director of the Center for Pain Management at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Northwestern University Medical School from 2002-2014, and served as an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and program-co chair of the multidisciplinary pain fellowship.

Dr. Stanos is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine by the American Board of Pain Medicine and by the American Board of Anesthesia.

Dr. Stanos is a Past President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Pain Medicine. He served as a panel member on the Service Delivery and Reimbursement work group for the National Pain Strategy, an invited consultant to the CDC for the CDC Opioid Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, and as a work group member for Healthy People 2020 and Healthy People 2030. He is active with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has served as the co- chair of education for the Pain and Neuromuscular Council.

Dr. Stanos's work also includes ongoing educational initiatives for primary care, pain medicine, and physical medicine specialists around the United States and abroad. Dr. Stanos has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters related to pain management. He has been involved in the development and publication of treatment guidelines related to rehabilitation approaches for chronic pain and low back pain conditions. He also serves on the editorial board for the journal Pain Medicine and as a reviewer for other pain and rehabilitation journals.

A Mayday Foundation Advocacy fellow in 2013, Dr. Stanos's advocacy has continued to focus on increasing awareness and access for inter-disciplinary biopsychosocially-based pain care for patients suffering with chronic pain. In 2014, the University of Washington Department of Pain Medicine awarded Dr. Stanos with the John J. Bonica, MD lecture. He has appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, Fox News, regional print, and television news covering various topics related to pain medicine and pain rehabilitation.

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Sharing a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

Ask the Expert


I want to share my fibromyalgia diagnosis with my family and friends but, having been viewed as a "complainer" over the years, I'm worried they won't take me seriously. How can I best articulate my condition so that I receive support, not skepticism?


If you feel like your loved ones don't take your chronic pain symptoms seriously, you're not alone. In a 2009 survey (commissioned by HealthyWomen as part of a collaboration with Pfizer) of men and women with chronic pain, almost twice as many women as men with chronic pain (59% of women versus 36% of men) felt they were considered "complainers" because of their experience.

Receiving a diagnosis—giving a name to the cause of your symptoms—is definitely a step in the right direction. Your experience thus far may have been completely valid yet difficult to articulate, but now it's easier to explain. There are a few things you can do to communicate your experience more effectively.

Get educated

Now that you know the name of your condition, it's your responsibility to learn more. Fibromyalgia resources are plentiful. You can start right here at HealthyWomen, and check out a huge variety of resources from the National Fibromyalgia Association. The more you understand about fibromyalgia and the causes of your pain and fatigue, the better you'll become at answering questions from curious friends, family or coworkers.

Share information

If you've been experiencing unexplained symptoms for a long time, the people closest to you may feel frustrated. They want you to be well, and they want to help, but they don't know how.

Start sharing the resources you find with them, including websites, books, videos or other sources of information. Seeing others echo your sentiments and experience may help them understand you better, and feel more hopeful about your future. A great place to start is HealthyWomen's fibromyalgia video series, which includes a selection created just for loved ones.

Be a good patient

Pledge to follow a treatment plan, and DO IT. Celebrate each small success with loved ones. You'll feel great about taking steps toward feeling better, and by taking measurable action you demonstrate how seriously you take your condition—and how much responsibility you're willing to accept for getting better.

People who may have been skeptical about your experience before will see your dedication as a sign that you're serious. They'll find it harder to label you as a "complainer" when you're working every day to improve.

Be choosy

One of the toughest challenges of having an "invisible" illness is that some people just can't be convinced. Save yourself valuable time and energy by accepting that now—and don't take it personally. Pick your confidantes wisely, focusing on sharing your experience with those who validate your condition. Be choosy with your words, too; as long as you're clear about your experience and needs, there's no need to overload loved ones with extensive detail. The less time you spend focusing on negative things, the more time you’ll have for the things you love.

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