Also about Fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
Facts & Fallacies
Fallacy: Fibromyalgia is a new disease, a "fad" disease of the ’90′s.
Fact: Symptoms similar to Fibromyalgia were described in the 1700′s. It was called fibrositis in 1904 and renamed Fibromyalgia in the 1980′s. In the past, physicians misunderstood FMS, viewing it as a psychological disorder involving unusual susceptibility to stress. They believed that patient complaints about their symptoms had no physical basis. Now that research on FMS has established a clear pattern of symptoms and biochemical abnormalties, attitudes are beginning to change.
Fallacy: Fibromyalgia is a "wastebasket" diagnosis.
Fact:Some physicians view FMS as the diagnosis when no other cause for the patient’s symptoms can be found. That approach is no longer valid. In 1990, The American College of Rheumatology and 20 specialist centers accross the U.S. & Canada participated in a research study which scientifically established diagnostic criteria that allow the diagnosis of FMS to be made with more confidence. The criteria are based on details from patients’ medical histories and physical examinations. Some physicians are still not fully familiar with these criteria.
Fallacy: Fibromyalgia is caused by deconditoning – muscles becoming weak & limp as a result of inactivity.
Fact: This misconception has added to the painful burden of those suffering from FMS. This blaming of the victim is singularly unhelpful to the patient’s state of mind & is also medically inaccurate – most fibromyalgia sufferers were highly active people, overachievers, in fact when the condition struck.
Fallacy:People with Fibromyalgia tend to overreact to their symptoms or exaggerate their pain.
Fact: The pain of FMS has been rated to be as severe as the pain of rheumatoid arthritis by patients who have one or the other condition. One research study indicated some individuals with FM actually underreport the severity of pain they feel because they are afraid of not being believed. One of the most frustrating aspects of FMS is that others cannot see or feel the magnitude of the pain you are experiencing.
Fallacy: You look ok, you must be ok
Fact: The fact that you may look ok is distressingly inconsistent with how terrible you feel. If visible signs such as a red rash corresponding with the pain were visible, others would see it and emphathize. But there are no outward signs that indicate how much pain you feel. Thus FMS can be described as an invisible, ongoing nightmare that others cannot see or feel. Being trapped in this nightmare may cause you to doubt your own sanity, which may contribute to depression and lead to withdrawal from society into lonely isolation.
Fallacy:You may have somehow brought your symptoms upon yourself.
Fact: There isn’t anything you did or failed to do that caused you to develop FMS. FMS patients have been found to exhibit chemical imbalances & abnormalties in physical function that researchers believe are entirely beyond an individual’s control.
Many people feel they are being blamed for causing their own symptoms or have been told they are suffering from a psychological illness such as anxiety or depression. This can result in feelings of distrust or anger toward the medical profession, and in guilt or shame about having FMS. Self-esteem can be damaged and the doctor-patient relationship may be strained.
Fallacy: Fibromyalgia is a condition that is in the psychiatric spectrum.
Fact: The pain & symptoms of FMS have a definite physical origin. Unfortunately, medical science has not yet arrived at a full understanding of the underlying abnormalties. You may have difficulty handling stressful situations, or you may be dealing with depression or anxiety. These factors may aggravate FM, but there is no evidence that they are the cause of it.
*Excerpts from "The Fibromyalgia Help Book", Jenny Fransen, R.N. & I. John Russell, M.D., Smith House Press, ISBN: 0 – 9615221 – 4 – 3
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