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7 myths of Fibromyalgia
by TeenHelp May 5th 2019, 01:57 PM

7 myths of Fibromyalgia
By Cassie (cynefin)


[source]

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that is known for causing widespread pain in those who have it. It carries other symptoms along with it, such as brain fog ("fibro fog") exhaustion, headaches, light sensitivity, and many more. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is widely misunderstood and sometimes stereotyped and this article aims to refute some of the myths.

Myth: Fibromyalgia does not exist.
Fact: The answer of this myth changes, depending on who is asked about it. Some doctors (among other people) do not believe fibromyalgia exists. This is possibly because there are no known causes, though there are links. Additionally, some people believe that there is no reason for the pain (e.g. your leg isnʻt injured, so it shouldn't ache). Fibromyalgia, and the pain it causes, is very real. It is typically referred to as "an invisible illness." As many people with other issues know, being unable to see the pain does not mean that the pain is nonexistent.

Myth: Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder.

Fact: Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness, and it is thought that it is related to the perception of pain in the brain. Fibromyalgia can and often does occur alongside autoimmune (or other) disorders, but fibromyalgia itself is not autoimmune [source].

Myth: Only older people can get fibromyalgia.
Fact: Although fibromyalgia is common in middle-aged and older adults, it can be seen in people of many ages [source]. It is very rare in young children and in early life, but becomes more prevalent as people age. Fibromyalgia can be seen often in young adulthood as well. The rarity of it in younger ages doesn't mean it's impossible - I was diagnosed at age fourteen - and it was hard to find a pediatric rheumatologist!

Myth: Fibromyalgia has known causes.

Fact: Currently, fibromyalgia has no known causes, but there are links. Many people who have been through early or complex trauma are at risk of developing it. It is more common in women, and it can occur after an injury or an illness. Some believe it is linked to sleep. The answer as to what causes this chronic illness is another factor that will differ, depending on who you ask. One of my earlier doctors thought that it was due to sleep, while my other doctor calls it "a three prong illness" that is related to pain, sleep, and stress. My therapist attributes it to my trauma.

Myth: People with fibromyalgia are lazy.
Fact: People with fibromyalgia do not enjoy missing out on life events, or having a small ability to complete daily tasks, like vacuuming, cooking, or doing the laundry. The pain it causes is difficult enough without factoring in the other symptoms, especially the exhaustion. Many people with fibromyalgia have the mental will and desire to do things but their body shuts down or will not cooperate, no matter how much they want it to.

Myth: People with fibromyalgia are addicted to pain medications, or they use them as a crutch.
Fact: Generally speaking, people with fibromyalgia are not addicted to pain medication. The exhaustion and mental fogginess, confusion, and memory loss can make it appear to be that way, however. Medication is not a crutch, but something to help relieve pain. Sometimes, when the pain is reduced or gone, some people sleep because they havenʻt been able to with the pain. I will occasionally take a medication if the pain worsens or does not improve after I have tried other options.

Myth: Fibromyalgia is not treatable.
Fact: Symptoms are treatable, but there is no known cure yet. Safe exercising and diet changes, acupuncture, medications and the treatment of other illnesses (through therapy) often help reduce symptoms. Self-help techniques, like breathing exercises or a warm bath, also prove useful. Fibromyalgia can go into a remission where symptoms are reduced or gone for a period of time. I went into a remission (symptom reduction) when I began seeing my therapist. I was still in a lot of pain, but not daily. I remained in that remission for five years, and came out of it about six or seven months ago.

If you or someone you know has fibromyalgia, know that relief is possible even if it does not seem like it is. Though we can always be aware of the different issues people experience, May is fibromyalgia month. Purple is the color for fibromyalgia, and the purple butterfly is its symbol.

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What is Fibromyalgia?
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