Share Article

Start a Discussion

Articles > Top fibromyalgia myths to ignore

Top fibromyalgia myths to ignore

Fibromyalgia can be hard to pin down: There_s no simple way to test for it, and the hallmark symptoms_tender, aching muscles and extreme fatigue_are often mistaken for other conditions. To shed light on this perplexing pain syndrome, we asked Roland Staud, MD, to debunk common misconceptions.

Diana Bierman

Provided by HealthMonitor

Myth #1:
The pain is all in your head.
Fact: Fibromyalgia is very real, causing severe body-wide pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances, says Roland Staud, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville and co-author of Fibromyalgia for Dummies. Research shows that people with fibromyalgia feel pain more intensely. For example, brain-imaging tests confirm that a person with fibromyalgia has more brain activity in reaction to pain than the average person.

Myth #2:
Only middle-aged women get it.
Fact: Although most patients are women in their 40s, anyone can get fibromyalgia, including men and children. People are typically affected between the ages of 20 and 60, but it can occur at any time. Those with high levels of stress, fatigue or even difficult childhood experiences may be at risk. While the genetic contributions to fibromyalgia are unclear, people in the same family often get it. In fact, about a third of children whose mothers have fibro eventually develop it as well.

Myth #3:
Don't exercise if you have fibromyalgia.
Fact: On the contrary! Some research suggests exercising for
25 minutes twice a week can actually improve symptoms. If you're in a lot of pain, however, avoid muscle-strengthening exercises, like weight lifting. Instead, start with water aerobics or even a stroll around the mall. Once you get comfortable exercising, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Some fibro-friendly exercises include yoga, biking and tai chi. And remember that chores like mopping, washing windows or gardening also count as exercise.

Myth #4:
Fibromyalgia damages your joints.
Fact: There's no evidence that joint damage occurs. It's more likely that arthritis will contribute to your fibromyalgia pain (up to 65% of people with fibro also have other rheumatic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus); however, fibromyalgia doesn't cause arthritis. Overall, fibromyalgia-related painis more often related to pain orstiffness in the muscles rather than joints.

Myth #5:
There are no treatments for it.
Fact: There are actually several effective options, including medications and complementary approaches like acupuncture and massage. Another helpful treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a therapist teaches you to challenge negative thoughts and establish new coping skills. Studies show CBT can reduce symptoms in most patients by at least 30%, and even by 50% in some. But the keys to really curbing symptoms? Consulting your doctor and using self-care strategies. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and pacing yourself to avoid exhaustion.

Fibromyalgia Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis Exhaustion Pain Sleep Disturbances Stress Arthritis Fatigue Systemic Lupus Erythematosis Exercise More

Copyright © 2014 HeathMonitor. All Right Reserved.

  • maryl

    1 hour ago

    I love this posting but i have no idea how anyone with fibro can get enough sleep.healthy lifestyle yes . eating healthy yes. pacing yourself yes somewhat but it at times all falls apart because of the lack of sleep thanks for the info appreicate it

Related Discussions
  • Fibromyalgia and my experence with it

    I have been diagnosed with fibro since 1994. I was seeing a rheumatologist. He didn't want me telling anyone. He said it would screw up my insurance. I had to move from my hometown, about 2 or 3hours away. I continued to see ...

  • fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, chronic debilitating pain

    I recently ws diagnosed with fibromyalgia but having other testing done. .One doc says have an auto immune disease but checking to see what all is wrong. My ANA high but other doc says don't trust mayo clinic lab results a...

  • fibromyalgia and neuropathy

    horrific pain and fatigue 24/7. waiting to see if duloxetine kicks in. Lyrica is awful with side effects

  • Fibromyalgia

    Hello. I am 51 years old and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 17 years ago. It took a few years to get the right combination of medications, but my FM was fairly well managed until the last couple of years. I am seeing an orth...

  • Magic Pill For Fibromylaia

    Hi Ladies,
    i have been diagnoised with Fibromyalgia for 28 years. Not only Fibromyalgia but also arthritis in lower back, bursitis in left hip and carpral tunnel syndrome in both hands. My doctor have me on Lyrica whic...

  • Burning and tingling

    Do any of you ever wake up in the night with tingling and burning in your joints and discomfort in your bladder and once you go to the washroom, it seems to kind of dissipate? I have been doing some research and I think it mi...

  • Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, a blood clotting disorder and glaucoma. My life fell apart at age 39. Have had 3 spinal fusions and stay in pain most of the time. I had mono and shing...

  • Prayers

    Hey Bill I had AML in 1985 and have been in remission since 86 ,I agree with acey prayer has done wonders for me also . I get my strength from the Lord as I still pray for answers in my own medical issues now.Recently filed f...

  • Pain

    2 days ago i was getting out of the tub and i had severe back pain that put me in the floor my daughter had to call an ambulance to take me to the Hospital my fibro has flaired up so bad that i can hardly walk. I am going to ...

  • Fibromyalgia pain and depression

    Hello everyone I haven't heard from anyone in awhile my fibromyalgia is pain is coming back now that weather is gloomy and my depression flared up earlier I tried my hardest to take my thoughts to another place yay it worked ...