by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, FACP
What is fibromyalgia, and is it real?
Fibromyalgia is a long-term or chronic disorder. It’s associated with widespread pain in the muscles and bones, areas of tenderness, and general fatigue. Symptoms like these are considered subjective, meaning they can’t be determined or measured by tests. Because its symptoms are subjective and there isn’t a clear known cause, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed as another disease.
The lack of reproducible, objective tests for this disorder plays a role in some doctors questioning the disorder altogether. Although it’s more widely accepted in medical circles now than previously, some doctors and researchers don’t consider fibromyalgia a real condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, this can increase your risk of depression, which stems from a struggle in gaining acceptance for painful symptoms.
Researchers are closer to understanding fibromyalgia, so the stigma that surrounds the condition is disappearing. In the past, many doctors worried that people could use this undetectable pain as an excuse to seek out prescription pain medication. Doctors are now finding that lifestyle changes may be better than medication in treating and managing this condition.
The more that doctors begin to accept this diagnosis, the more likely the medical community is to explore effective ways of treating fibromyalgia. Continue…