You may have been led here to this page because you googled "Is fibromyalgia fake" looking to confirm that someone in your life is a lazy hypochondriac. Well unfortunately for you ( but fortunate for them) fibromyalgia is real. Now don't get me wrong, fibromyalgia is way way WAY over diagnosed which is unfortunate for those who really have it. Many people who have chronic pain issues end up getting thrown a fibro diagnosis because their doctor is too lazy to figure out what is really wrong. At the end of the day though, you're here because you are someone else in your life is experiencing pain and illness and fibromyalgia is a real diagnosis. So with that said, please read through all the links I have provided below debunking fibromyalgia myths.
1. All fibromyalgia patients are high on painkillers making them druggies of the worst sort. These drugs are just handed out by doctors like candy.
I have a lot to say about pain medication, just check my sidebar in the "pain" and "medicine," but I think quoting the experts might be the best option in this case. Below are just a couple articles about pain medication and how it's a lot harder to get than most people think. Patients with chronic pain often are under treated because of the ridiculous bureaucracy they have to deal with just to get treatment. For example, read this post over at "Oh my aches and pains" to discover what it is really like trying to get pain medicine.
Look at this transcript from NPR addressing how chronic pain is actually under treated and the difference between addiction and dependence. "Addiction is defined as a neurobiological condition where people use the drugs compulsively. They use them despite knowing they're doing harm. Physical dependence is different. If you go on opiods for even two or three weeks, you will become physically dependent. That's 100 percent guaranteed, but that's not the same as addiction. That is a state of adaptation that your body makes to the opioids. "
Please check this study where fibromyalgia has been linked to decreased brain activity. "The results showed that the fibromyalgia participants had significantly increased pain sensitivity compared with the control group."
Also please read this post about how women are regularly under treated for pain as compared to men (and women tend to have fibromyalgia in much greater numbers than men).
And finally, read here about the high suicide risk for people with chronic pain. Sounds like a picnic huh?
2. Fibromyalgia always results from some past trauma, be it physical or mental.
This can sometimes be true, but it is not always the case. Please see this information provided by the Mayo Clinic. Last I checked they were pretty reputable. "There's a lot that's unknown about fibromyalgia, but researchers have learned more about it in just the past few years. In people who have fibromyalgia, the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently. As a result, they react more strongly to touch and pressure, with a heightened sensitivity to pain. It is a real physiological and neurochemical problem."
And that is just from one source. So no, just because you have fibromyalgia it doesn't mean you were abused as a child or were in 10 car accidents before the age of five. Fibromyalgia is complicated and we're still learning new things about it and Fibro patients do not fit in a narrow easily definable category.
3. It's easy to get disability benefits from fibromyalgia.
Read a first person account of how difficult and demeaning the disability process is here. Many patients have to wait years in order to get disability. They get turned down two or three times and in the meantime they are unable to work and are living on nothing. Even if they win eventually, they aren't generally living high on the disability hog. Sounds like a great arrangement to me!
Look at this article about how disability testing for fibromyalgia is often misleading and leads to inaccurate results and denial of benefits.
Read here about all the things that fibro patients have to take into account and figure out when they can no longer work.
4. Fibromyalgia sufferers are all type A personalities who wouldn't be sick if they weren't so controlling and OCD.
Read The Brainless Blogger's response to that idea here she does a great job addressing the issue. I'll also add that I have never been nor will I ever be a Type A person. I'm a quintessential middle child who has always been easy going and laid back, and I'm not the only fibromite is who that way. This is a gross over generalization of fibro patients.
5. Fibromyalgia is another word for lazy
Read my post here about how awesome it is to have fibromyalgia. Despite what most people think it's actually not fun to be in pain all the time. It's also not fun to be forced into resting a lot resulting in you missing out on all the fun that other people are having. I don't know about you but I absolutely love staying home while everyone else gets to go out and do things! I love that every time I walk for any period of time I end up in horrible pain! It is so freakin fun, you should try it too! And if my sarcasm wasn't enough for you, check on an article here which includes a lot of information and medical links about fibromyalgia.