7 Myths About Fibromyalgia

  • friends-sitting-at-outdoor-dinner-table
    It’s time to separate fibro fact from fiction.
    If you have fibromyalgia, you probably know all too well the condition is complex. It can be difficult to understand, let alone explain to your friends. Even doctors don’t have all the answers. Because it’s so complicated, it’s no wonder there are a lot of myths and misperceptions about it. Learn the truth behind a few of them so you can set the record straight.

  • tensed woman on bed
    Myth No. 1: The condition isn’t real.
    If you live with fibromyalgia, you may feel like the condition isn’t taken seriously. Maybe you’ve been told that symptoms are all in your head. Or perhaps you believe you were diagnosed only because nothing else was found. Not true. Fibromyalgia is a very real condition. Doctors now use strict criteria to diagnose fibromyalgia and medications are FDA-approved specifically for its treatment.

  • mother-and-daughter-on-beach
    Myth No. 2: Fibromyalgia will get worse.
    Symptoms of fibromyalgia differ for everyone and can fluctuate with time. But it’s comforting to know the condition is not progressive. Although you may need to deal with very difficult symptoms, know that the condition you have today will not largely get worse over time or harm your organs or tissues. Forming a good partnership with your doctor will help you get the right care and control over your symptoms.

  • Treadmills at fitness center
    Myth No. 3: Having fibromyalgia makes you weak.
    You may believe that’s what others think about you. Your family and friends may not understand everything there is to know about fibromyalgia. But that doesn’t mean they don’t respect you for what you’re going through. In one poll, far more Americans viewed people with fibromyalgia as courageous and strong rather than weak. Hold your head high!

  • frustrated businessman sitting in cafe with hands on head
    Myth No. 4: Fibromyalgia affects only women.
    Although more women than men are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, men can get the condition, too. And people of all ethnic groups and ages, even children, can develop fibromyalgia. A woman with a family member who has fibromyalgia is more likely to develop fibromyalgia. It’s not currently known whether this connection is because of a common genetic component, environmental factors, or both.

  • Middle aged woman at doctor's appointment
    Myth No. 5: There is no treatment.
    Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are several ways to treat the condition. This is why getting diagnosed is so important. Doctors use a number of medications to help reduce symptoms. And lifestyle changes—such as exercising regularly, taking steps to get better sleep, and eating healthy foods—can help reduce pain and maintain an active life.

  • senior woman holding painful hand
    Myth No. 6: All your symptoms are caused by fibromyalgia.
    Although you may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you can be living with other health conditions as well. In fact, it’s common for people with fibromyalgia to have overlapping medical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. And although symptoms may be similar, each condition must be treated separately. Talk with your doctor about all of your symptoms and ask about tests to rule out or confirm a diagnosis.

  • women-young-heart-myths
    Myth No. 7: No one knows how you feel.
    Although it’s true that your own symptoms and experiences are unique to you, you are not alone in your struggle with fibromyalgia. In fact, six million people in the United States have been diagnosed and are living with the condition. Look online or check out local support groups that can help connect you to those who understand. You can start your search on the Fibromyalgia Network.

7 Myths About Fibromyalgia

About The Author

  1. Fibromyalgia: the information and care you deserve. American Chronic Pain Association. http://www.theacpa.org/uploads/FibroHandbook.pdf
  2. Fibromyalgia 101. American Chronic Pain Association. http://www.theacpa.org/uploads/FM_101_booklet_single_page.pdf
  3. Two takes on fibro: public perceptions and private realities. American Chronic Pain Association. http://www.theacpa.org/uploads/documents/FibroSurveyExecSummary.pdf
  4. Questions and answers about fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_info/Fibromyalgia/default.asp#e
  5. Will I get better? Tilting the odds in your favor. CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help. http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/will-i-get-better-tilting-odds-your-favor
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Feb 20
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