Fibromyalgia is being recognised and diagnosed more frequently, however, there are still many misconceptions about this mysterious illness.
Although millions of people suffer from it, very little is known about what causes fibromyalgia and how it should be treated. In this blog, we look at why this debilitating chronic pain condition is so misunderstood, as well as the common myths that surround it.
Until a few years ago, many people experiencing the distressing symptoms of fibromyalgia received very little or no medical validation. As it is an ‘invisible’ illness, with no definitive cause, some people suffering with pain and fatigue, as well as other symptoms of fibromyalgia, have been questioned by doctors and, in some cases, their loved ones.
“It’s all in your head.”
This is one of the most damaging misconceptions about fibromyalgia. Many people struggle to believe that a person who looks so healthy can be experiencing such incapacitating pain.
The pain is real and, at times, unbearable.
“Only women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.”
More women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is suspected to be as a result of the hormones, which play a pivotal role in the development of the disease. Women are also more likely to have heightened or specific symptoms, such as early morning fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome.
Men can get fibromyalgia, however, are less likely to report it, perhaps regarding pain as a sign of weakness.
“Fibromyalgia is untreatable.”
While it is true that there is currently no treatment for fibromyalgia, there are ways to reduce the severity of pain and suffering through prescribed treatments, alternative therapies and diet. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
The coexisting physical and emotional symptoms of fibromyalgia can be managed.
“Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same.”
Fatigue is a major symptom of fibromyalgia, however, it is only one of many side-effects. Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome have no pain at all, apart from that associated with an unsettled night’s sleep.
Fibromyalgia fact: Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are two completely different disorders that just happen to share some of the same symptoms.
“Fibromyalgia sufferers should avoid exercise.”
Although it may at times seem incomprehensible to sufferers, physical exercise can help to keep fibromyalgia pain in check. Light to moderate exercise increases strength, flexibility, enhances energy and pumps oxygen rich blood throughout the body.
Fibromyalgia fact: Exercise helps to address the psychological and emotional symptoms of pain.
“Fibromyalgia is caused by depression.”
Due to distressing symptoms and a feeling of isolation, individuals living with fibromyalgia may also develop mental health disorders. Maintaining a positive mental wellbeing can be challenging when each day presents new struggles.
Fibromyalgia fact: Fibromyalgia can lead to sufferers experiencing low mood, however, is not brought on from it.
Fortunately, these misconceptions about fibromyalgia are dwindling as more research is conducted into the condition and more rapid diagnosis is leading to far greater awareness.
If you are a fibromyalgia sufferer and believe your condition has been caused as the result of an accident or injury that was not your fault, we can help you to claim compensation. If you would like to find out more about this or speak with one of our specialist fibromyalgia solicitors, call us for free on 0808 123 0003 or click here to fill in our online contact form.