Fibromyalgia is defined as a widespread chronic pain condition that is believed to affect more than 5 million people in the United States alone. Sadly, fibromyalgia is still a very misunderstood condition, but in from a medical and public perspective. And while doctors may not know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, we do know enough about it to dispel some of the more common and often damaging misconceptions surrounding this disease.
Misconception #1: Fibromyalgia is all in your head
Of all the misconceptions surrounding this disease, this is perhaps the most damaging. because this condition does not as of yet have a known cause and is largely invisible to those looking in, it is often dismissed by others. However, just because you can’t see the pain, doesn’t mean a person isn’t experiencing it.
Misconception #2: Only women develop fibromyalgia
While it is true that women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men (75 to 90 percent of diagnosed fibromyalgia cases is in women between 20 and 50), men too can develop it. However, it is thought that hormones may make women more susceptible.
Misconception #3: Diet can heal fibromyalgia
We are all for eating clean and healthy, and it is true that diet can often play a big part in the curing and treatment of ailments, however, in terms of fibromyalgia, that just simply isn’t the case. While many have claimed that going vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free have rid them of their fibromyalgia, we don’t have any scientific evidence to substantiate those claims. But, it should be noted that changes in diet can help your condition, but certainly not cure it.
Misconception #4: Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are the same things
We can understand how this mistake can be made, especially considering that fatigue is a major symptom of fibromyalgia, however, while someone with fibromyalgia may get diagnosed with CFS, the relation between the two doesn’t go both ways.
Misconception #5: Fibromyalgia is not serious
Due to the fact that a fibromyalgia patient’s life is not in immediate danger, many would be quick to write the disease off as not serious. However, while it may not cause a risk of immediate death, the chronic pain associated with it can pose its own potentially life-threatening risks. People who suffer from chronic pain often will in tandem develop diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders.
Although not very well understood, fibromyalgia is still a very serious condition, and one in which its sufferers should be treated with dignity and respect. If you or someone you know is suffering from fibromyalgia, please be aware the there is support available.