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Myth: Fibromyalgia is rare
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common types of chronic pain. It affects over 5 million patients in the United States alone.
Myth: Fibromyalgia is “ALL IN THE HEAD”
Fibromyalgia has been described for centuries. But it wasn’t until 1981 that the first scientific study actually confirmed fibromyalgia symptoms and tender points in the body.
Since then, researchers have done more testing on the pain reactions of people with fibromyalgia. Imaging studies show that the brains of people with fibromyalgia have more activity in reaction to pain. Studies also have shown that people with fibromyalgia feel pain more intensely at lower levels than people without the condition.
Fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves that cause chronic widespread muscle pain. Although, fibromyalgia is not just “in the head,” it is important to understand that the condition is stressful—especially when it goes without being diagnosed. Stress can also make fibromyalgia worse.
Myth: Doctors diagnose Fibromyalgia when they can’t find a “REAL” diagnosis
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia can take time and there isn’t any specific lab test for it. Your doctor isn’t able to see it on an x-ray or do a blood test to confirm it. Instead, he or she has to listen to what you are telling them about your symptoms and a physical exam. What’s really bad is that the symptoms can mimic the symptoms of several other conditions. Your doctor will want to test for these other conditions also.
Fibromyalgia is a real condition. In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology developed guidelines for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Today, these guidelines are widely used.
Something else, there are now thousands of studies validating this form of chronic widespread pain. In 1990, there were only about 200 published studies on fibromyalgia. Today there are more than 4,000 published fibromyalgia studies.
Myth: Fibromyalgia is a “Women’s Disease”
The majority of people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80%). Fibromyalgia is a common condition and that means men are also diagnosed.
Studies have shown that women with fibromyalgia tend to have a lower pain tolerance and more symptoms than men. But both genders responded about the same to fibromyalgia treatment and other non-drug treatments like exercise.
Fibromyalgia knows no age group, teenagers and the old can be affected. But the symptoms are more likely to begin in someone in their 30s. Fibromyalgia occurs in all ethnic groups and cultures. It knows no borders.
Myth: The pain of Fibromyalgia is mild
You may only experience mild symptoms, especially if you’re getting the right treatment. For others, the pain can be very severe. It can impact on your quality of life significantly. The simplest of things you once took for granted, like working, going for a walk, the everyday chores of your household, and taking care of your family can become difficult. Symptoms will often get worse under stress or even under certain weather conditions.
More information about fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain can be found at http://www.Fibrocenter.com
Myth: There is nothing that can be done to treat Fibromyalgia
Although fibromyalgia can’t be cured, just getting a diagnosis can be a great relief. It can, however, signify the beginning of a new and possibly a long journey toward relief of some of your symptoms. With lifestyle changes and prescription treatments as well as alternative treatments, you may be able to reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms. Not long ago there was no FDA-approved treatment for fibromyalgia, there are medication in existence now to help relieve the unique pain of this condition.
Myth: Fibromyalgia damages my joints
Though fibromyalgia pain can be severe at times, it doesn’t damage your bones, joints or muscles. You may worry that when pain worsens, it means that fibromyalgia is progressing. But that isn’t the case. While increasing fibromyalgia pain can make it difficult to go about your daily activities, it isn’t damaging your body.
Myth: You look fine, so there’s nothing wrong with you
You know this isn’t true, but your friends, family and co-workers who don’t understand fibromyalgia will hang on to this belief. It can cause tension when others wonder if you’re faking your pain because they think you don’t look sick. Resist the urge to get angry and withdraw rather than explain how you’re feeling.
Try to be as open and honest as you can be when you talk so you can help others better understand fibromyalgia. Be honest about how you feel and let others know that if they have questions, you’re willing to listen and explain.
Myth: Fibromyalgia is a form of Arthritis
It was first believed that fibromyalgia might be a form of arthritis, although research over the past 10+ years has proven that to be not true. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, but there isn’t any inflammation with FM, and there isn’t any damage to your joints. You might have some type of arthritis (like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) along with FM, but it’s a completely different disorder. Research is showing, with new brain-imaging techniques and scientific studies, that fibromyalgia can be described as a central nervous system disorder that results in your brain not being able to process the pain signals your body is sending.
Myth: Fibromyalgia affects the muscles, joints, connective tissues.
Fact: There is no damage to the muscles, joints or connective tissue of people with fibromyalgia.
In the past fibromyalgia was said to be a musculoskeletal disorder because the pain you have feels like it is coming from the muscles, joints and connective tissues. But years of testing haven’t shown any actual damage to the muscles, joints and connective tissues. What the research has shown is that there is a malfunction in your central nervous system causing the signals being sent to the brain causing your pain to be magnified. In other words, a stimulus that would not even be noticed by most people can be extremely painful to someone with fibromyalgia.
Speak to your doctor to learn more.