COMMON MYTHS AND THE ACTUAL FACTS ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA
When you have diabetes, your disease follows a fairly predictable course. That’s not true for fibromyalgia. One of the reasons there are so many myths surrounding fibromyalgia is that people experience the disorder differently.
MYTH: YOU’RE IMAGINING IT
One of the most pervasive myths about fibromyalgia is that it’s not real. If you have the condition, you know just how untrue that is. The fatigue, pain, and other symptoms disrupt your life, take away the pleasure in activities you enjoy, and may have a serious impact on your relationships.
Because the symptoms can be vague, and the disease is difficult to diagnose, you may have fibromyalgia for months or even years before you know it. You may have been to other care providers who doubted your pain, or who suggested it was all in your mind.
At Revive Medical, we understand that fibromyalgia is real, and the symptoms have serious consequences on your life.
MYTH: ONLY WOMEN GET FIBROMYALGIA
Although women do tend be diagnosed with fibromyalgia at higher rates than men, it’s entirely possible for men to develop the condition. Thanks to cultural phenomena such as gender bias, some researchers think that the the actual incidence of fibromyalgia among men may be much higher than previously believed.
MYTH: THERE ARE NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS FOR FIBROMYALGIA
As researchers learn more about fibromyalgia, the treatments are becoming more uniform. The most effective treatment plans take a multidimensional approach.
Medications are usually only part of the answer, providing some relief but not enough to keep you moving and doing the things you need and want to do. Two promising areas of research have focused on serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and alpha-2 delta ligands. These two classes of drugs work at the cellular level to provide some pain relief.
Another approach is using drugs to address specific symptoms. For example, corticosteroids may help with pain due to inflammation.
Other types of therapy may be helpful. For example, when you have a condition like fibromyalgia that causes chronic pain, your risk of depression is far higher than it is for other people. Identifying potential psychological and emotional issues that may affect your fibromyalgia symptoms could be an important component of your treatment plan.
Another potentially effective treatment for fibromyalgia is low level light therapy (LLLT). LLLT uses light energy to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. It’s a noninvasive treatment that may help decrease your symptoms.
MYTH: YOU JUST NEED MORE REST
The chronic pain and fatigue that usually accompany fibromyalgia make this myth especially tempting to believe. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re in pain or when you can’t sleep well. However, regular aerobic exercise has proven to be an important part of effectively managing fibromyalgia.
If you’re struggling to exercise, discuss the barriers you’re facing with your health care provider at Revive Medical. There may be steps you can take to make regular exercise more doable for you.
If you’d like to learn more about fibromyalgia, book an appointment with us at Revive Medical. Our team is happy to discuss your specific situations and to suggest a treatment approach tailored for you as an individual. You can schedule an appointment online or by phone.