June 19, 2013 12 Comments
Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood condition that causes widespread pain and fatigue. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may come across some myths and misconceptions while trying to learn all you can about the condition.
Here are the top 5 myths I always hear about fibro:
1. The China Doll – Fibro patients are fragile.
This myth can’t be further from the truth. Sometimes, fibro patients can be emotionally and physically sensitive, but it takes a ton of perseverance and strength to live with fibro. We can’t measure our strength by the number of miles we run or the number of pounds we bench-press — instead, we measure our strength one day at a time. Today, I am strong enough to get out of bed. Tomorrow, I am strong enough to clean the house. And, the next day, I might be strong enough to try to take over the world… mu ha ha ha
But seriously, everyday it takes great courage to just keep going – to live our lives to the fullest, no matter how much pain we are in that moment.
2. It’s all in your head – Fibro is a made up disease.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it does not exist. In the beginning, Fibromyalgia was a last resort diagnosis. One was tested for everything, and when nothing could be diagnosed with certainty, the doctors said you might have fibro. However, that ‘s not the case anymore. Every year, more and more is discovered about the disease — and not just how to diagnosis it. In the early 1980’s, doctors developed a pain point test to diagnosis fibro. Today, “researchers have learned more about it in just the past few years. In people who have fibromyalgia, the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently. As a result, they react more strongly to touch and pressure, with a heightened sensitivity to pain. It is a real physiological and neurochemical problem.” via MayoClinic
Being that a fibro patients’ brains process things differently, one could say it really is “all in our heads”.
3. The pain can’t be that bad.
At first glance, it might look like the daily pain of fibro isn’t that bad. Daily fibro pain is more exhausting than anything. Imagine that you have an all over body pain, similar to a flu-like-pain, every day. Yeah, it’s just like that.
But then, there are the pain attacks. I usually get one at least once a month. I love to put my best foot forward, so during my attacks, I tend to hide. (Pain attack = hermit.) So most of my friends don’t even know how bad the pain can really be — like kill me now type of pain. Though, I’m never sure if this hide-away-during-pain-attacks is better or worse for my friendships.
4. Fibromyalgia is a women’s disease.
Research shows that about 80-90% of those affected in the US by fibro are women — leaving 10% are men. Now, I’m never sure if this is because women keep trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with them or that men give up trying.
5. There is nothing that can be done to treat Fibromyalgia.
There is no miracle cure for it. But, there are a ton of things from homeopathic to western medicines that can help ease your symptoms. The trick is finding which one, or combination of ones work best for you. And remember, what works for some, might not work for others. So, why advice is nice, it’s best to listen to your own body as you figure out what solution works best for you. However, there are a few that work for almost everyone – diet, exercise and reduced stress.
Fibromyalgia is still a “new” disease. We are still learning new things and constantly debunking myths about it. What have you learned lately about fibromyalgia?