Because fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is an often-misunderstood condition, there are a variety of common fibromyalgia myths and misconceptions. These misconceptions can hinder an individual’s understanding of the illness, thereby leading to confusion and alienation. But what exactly are some of the most common fibromyalgia myths and what is the truth behind fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia symptoms?
The Most Common Fibromyalgia Myths
- Myth: Fibromyalgia is not a real illness. It is psychological. Fact: Fibromyalgia is a real, complex illness that is characterized by a variety of symptoms, above all, persistent, widespread pain with multiple tender points, poor quality of sleep and fatigue. While depression can cause fibromyalgia and the symptoms of fibromyalgia can lead to depression, they are not the same thing. Each condition is medical and has its own separate set of symptoms. However, in the past, fibromyalgia was mistakenly considered a purely emotional and psychological condition that was identified as a woman’s condition and that was often referred to as ‘women’s hysteria’.
- Myth: Fibromyalgia syndrome is a fatal condition. Fact: While it is true that people with chronic conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines are more likely to develop fibromyalgia, there is no evidence that FMS affects an individual’s life expectancy.
- Myth: FMS is a new and rare condition. Fact: Fibromyalgia symptoms have been present for hundreds of years. However it has been called many names in the past. Older names for fibromyalgia syndrome include muscular rheumatism, fibromyotosis and fibrositis. The misleading nature of these terms finally gave way in the mid-1980s to coin the term fibromyalgia syndrome, which more accurately reflects the fact that fibromyalgia pain targets both the muscles and soft connective tissue of the body. In addition, fibromyalgia is a common condition and affects close to 6 million Americans.
- Myth: Fibromyalgia syndrome will cause serious damage to the body. Fact: In fact, FMS does not appear to cause progressive deterioration to the body. However, fibromyalgia patients have consistently reported an increase in the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms, such as fibromyalgia pain. This exacerbation of symptoms results in a decreased level of functioning, making simple day-to-day chores, such as washing dishes, extremely physically demanding. This decreased activity level in turn leads to decreased muscle conditioning, thereby having an impact on the individual’s overall physical and psychological well-being.
- Myth: Only women get fibromyalgia syndrome. Fact: While women are ten times more likely than men to get fibromyalgia syndrome, men also suffer from fibromyalgia.
- Myth: Fibromyalgia only affects older adults. Fact: Generally, fibromyalgia syndrome is diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. However, it can be seen in individuals of all ages, including children.