Fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms. Everyone who has it experiences it in different ways with different combinations of symptoms. This may be the reason why so many people misunderstand the chronic condition. When people misunderstand something, you often see myths are created to fill in the gaps of knowledge. Here are a few fibromyalgia myths that have taken hold, many of which are relatively widespread.
Five Widely-Held Fibromyalgia Myths
It’s All in Your Head
One the most widespread fibromyalgia myths is that fibromyalgia isn’t a real medical problem. Part of this myth is based on the fact there are many scientific unknowns with respect to the disease.
Research has been able to show the spinal cord and brain in people who suffer from fibromyalgia seem to process the signals of pain in a different manner. The result is an extreme sensitivity to pain. The bottom line is fibromyalgia is a real physiological problem.
Fibromyalgia is a Lazy Person’s Disease
Actually, researchers are starting to believe that for many people it is just the opposite. Many people who are driven in life can develop fibromyalgia. The reason? Stress, something which many overachievers tend to experience at elevated levels, may have something to do with eroding the defenses people have against fibromyalgia symptoms.
There Are No Treatments for Fibromyalgia
As research on fibromyalgia continues, fibromyalgia myths dissipate and knowledge of the disease is increasing. This research aids doctors in recommending more effective fibromyalgia treatments. The challenge is since every patient has different symptoms, what works for one may not work for another.
Fibromyalgia symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, and tenderness throughout the body. People with fibromyalgia may also have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Problems with thinking and memory
- Trouble sleeping
- Morning stiffness
- Painful menstrual periods
Fibromyalgia Is Rare
Around five million people 18 and older in the U.S are believed to have fibromyalgia according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Only Women Get Fibromyalgia
It is true of all the fibromyalgia cases, women account for about 80 percent. But, as you see above about 20 percent of five million people is still a significant number.
Fibromyalgia is also diagnosed in all people from all age groups. However, symptoms usually begin when a person is in his/her 30s.
Fibromyalgia is a Blanket Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia takes time to diagnose because the numerous symptoms that may manifest themselves can appear to be indications of other maladies. There is no diagnostic test that rules out fibromyalgia, but there are criteria from the American College of Rheumatology that determines a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
What Are the Causes and the Cure
Oftentimes symptoms of fibromyalgia begin after physical trauma, infection, surgery, or other episodes that generate psychological stress. Sometimes symptoms appear to have no trigger at all.
There is no fibromyalgia cure at this time. However, several types of medication can alleviate some of the symptoms. Any type of stress reduction, from meditation to relaxation, often helps reduce symptoms.