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Irritating fibromyalgia misconceptions

Lana Bandoim's picture

Fibromyalgia patients often face unfair criticism and questions about their illness. Several misconceptions about the condition have become prevalent. However, patients and medical professionals are fighting these myths and trying to educate the public. Fibromyalgia is a real illness with specific symptoms and treatments.


Biggest myth

One of the biggest myths about fibromyalgia is that patients are not suffering from a real illness and that it is only in their heads. The Mayo Clinic reports that this is a common problem for patients. They are not taken seriously by their families, friends or doctors. In addition, they face issues as they try to seek diagnosis and treatment.

Many patients feel isolated and scared to talk about their illness because they are not taken seriously. The negative response they receive from others makes them doubt their own symptoms. They may not seek a second opinion from another doctor, and they are less likely to discuss their issues with others.

Misconceptions about patients

Although fibromyalgia affects more women than men, there are men who have the condition. It is estimated that 10 percent of the fibromyalgia cases in the United States are men. Unfortunately, they are less likely than women to seek help and get an official diagnosis. This has contributed to the myth that fibromyalgia only affects women.

Men who have fibromyalgia may have similar symptoms to women. They also suffer from fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, muscle aches, headaches and other problems. Doctors point out that men often ignore their symptoms and do not make the connection to fibromyalgia.

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Children and myths about fibromyalgia

Similar to the myth about men and fibromyalgia, many people incorrectly assume that children cannot be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. However, children can also suffer from this condition. Doctors mention that they are seeing more cases of children between the ages of 11 and 15 with fibromyalgia. They often complain about widespread pain, but it is commonly mistaken for growing pains.

Medical professionals have noticed several trends that involve juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome. They share that many children with fibromyalgia also have family members with the same illness. In addition, girls are more likely to have the condition than boys, but it affects both. The most common symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, pain, stiffness, headaches, depression and numbness.

Myths about cures

Patients frequently report seeing a variety of medications, supplements and other products that promise to cure fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, the American College of Rheumatology reminds patients that there is no official cure. However, patients have found relief and eliminated or reduced their symptoms by using different treatment options. It is important to remember that each individual is unique, so the same treatments may not work for everyone.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists three medications that may help patients with fibromyalgia. They are duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella) and pregabalin (Lyrica). Other drugs have also been prescribed to help patients with this condition. All medications carry potential risks and side effects, so you should discuss them with your doctor before starting them.

In addition to prescription drugs, fibromyalgia patients may benefit from supplements, exercise and other treatments. Some patients have benefited from supplements such as magnesium, vitamin D and ginger. In addition, massage therapy and Tai Chi exercises have helped patients reduce pain levels. Furthermore, there are wearable and other types of devices that may help patients through the use of electrical stimulation. Before you try any of these treatments, you may want to talk to your doctor. The promise of a quick cure makes it tempting to believe companies and spend money. However, you should do research and discuss the side effects before investing in a treatment option.