I often receive questions from others dealing with the effects of fibromyalgia and many wonder whether what is going on with them is all in their heads. The majority of searches that end up at my blog include questions like “Is fibromyalgia real?” or “Is the pain all in my head?” For many years, I wondered whether what I was feeling was all in my head and if I was simply crazy. Then, I received a diagnosis and I wondered whether fibromyalgia was real.
The fact is fibromyalgia is widely misunderstood condition causes widespread pain and fatigue. If you have been diagnosed, you will come across many misconceptions and it is important to you learn to separate the facts from the misconceptions. The most common misconception is that many people (including some members of the medical community) believe that fibromyalgia isn’t a real medical condition or that sufferers have a condition that is simply in their heads. Fibromyalgia is often treated as a last result diagnosis when the medical community cannot figure out what is wrong with a person. However, there is a criterion for diagnosis that includes painful tender points above and below the waist on both sides of the body.
There is still a lot that we do not know about fibromyalgia but researchers are learning more about it everyday. In the last few years, it has been determined that people who have fibromyalgia have brain and spinal cord processes that signal pain differently. This means that they react more strongly to touch and pressure with heightened sensitivity to pain. This reaction is that of physiological and neurochemical processes.
Misconceptions about fibromyalgia exist because society has a belief that medical science can cure or fix every medical ailment known to man. The majority of us believe that doctors can fix us through medication or surgery and for those of us with fibromyalgia; it is very frustrating that such a notion isn’t true. The only way to feel better with fibromyalgia is through lifestyle changes and other small steps, but that is only half the battle.
The good news is that today more and more members of the medical community understand that fibromyalgia is real medical condition. New research is helping to resolve previous misconceptions about the condition and better ways of diagnosis. Further, many either suffer from the condition or know someone who does.
Lifestyle changes are a first step in the right direction. However, that is the not necessarily the case for everyone and some patients need to take medication or try alternative methods of treatment. There is no magic diet or medication for fibromyalgia. Further, so many diagnosed live with ideals of perfection and have high expectations for themselves. They push and try to prevail through the pain, and only make their conditions worse. I know because I am one of those people. That also explains why the majority of fibromyalgia patients are women. By pushing ourselves, the pain and symptoms of fibromyalgia keep manifesting themselves in a never ending cycle. Slowing down isn’t easy, but it is yet another way we can work towards feeling better.
In order to rid ourselves of the many misconceptions about fibromyalgia, we (as sufferers) need to understand that even though no magic cure exists, there is hope. Further, treatment can improve quality of life and we should be open-minded about our many options. Moreover, we must learn as much as we can so we can get past the stages of grief and loss. We need to accept our diagnoses and focus more on feeling better than on fighting against fibromyalgia.
With fibromyalgia, there are more questions than there are answers. There is no magic pill that can cure us or a surgery that can fix us. We need to be able to recognize that asking for help is okay and allowing ourselves time to relax is the most important thing we can do to feel better. Therefore, the most important thing we can do is to make our health a top priority so that living with this condition can be a lot easier. Last, being hopeful is always important a person’s mental and emotional well-being so be hopeful and focus on those good days.