7 Misconceptions about Fibromyalgia

It's important to know about the different misconceptions about fibromyalgia because they often lead patients to seek inappropriate treatment. Learn more here!
7 Misconceptions about Fibromyalgia

Last update: 16 February, 2021

There are a lot of misconceptions about fibromyalgia. Most of them stem from the fact that science still doesn’t know much about this disease. 

Although there are things about this disease that we still don’t know, it’s also true that we have made advances that allow us to rule out some hypotheses.

For that reason, it’s important not to listen to misconceptions about fibromyalgia, like the following 7 common misconceptions.

7 misconceptions about fibromyalgia

Although we have known about this disease since 1904, medicine still can’t determine its cause. There aren’t any means to diagnose it and there are no tools to cure it.

Those information gaps have resulted in some misconceptions about the disease. As a result, people may mismanage the disease, which can be dangerous for their health. What are these beliefs? Let’s take a look.

1. It’s a psychological illness

This is one of the widespread misconceptions about fibromyalgia. In general, every disease has some psychological component and some also have psychological consequences. However, that doesn’t mean that they only exist in the person’s mind. 

Woman with neck pain

Fibromyalgia causes physical symptoms, such as widespread pain or joint stiffness. Those who suffer from this disease feel painful stimuli that, in reality, aren’t there. Also, they feel greater pain from stimuli that are there. However, this doesn’t mean that these pains are just in your head.

2. It only affects women and the elderly

This is another widespread misconception. This is because, just like with many other diseases, fibromyalgia is more prevalent in certain types of patients.

In contrast to this belief, an article published in 2009 by the Journal of the Spanish Pain Association explained that it’s true that 80% of patients are women, but that they’re not the only ones who can get it. 

And, the same goes for age. There’s evidence that fibromyalgia is more common in older people, but it can also appear at other times in our lives. Therefore, anyone can get this disease.

3. Quality of life is completely lost

Currently, regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce this disease’s symptoms. Additionally, there are several treatments available to prevent fibromyalgia from significantly altering your quality of life. 

We no longer have to focus 100% on medications; instead, it’s also important to focus on certain habits. A person with fibromyalgia can regain their quality of life if they do aerobic exercise regularly. Also, they should practice relaxation techniques and follow medical instructions. 

4. Misconceptions about fibromyalgia: People can’t exercise

When we talk about exercise, one of the most widespread misconceptions about fibromyalgia is that people with fibromyalgia cannot exercise. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As this study published by the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology shows, exercise is an important part of treatment. 

Woman swimming

However, it’s still important to talk to your doctor about exercising. Also, you should do these activities progressively, gradually, and consistently.

Several researchers (such as the following from the University of Göteborg, Sweden) have shown how exercise can be used as treatment. For example, they discuss how swimming, athletics, cycling, walking, and exercising in hot water can improve your symptoms. 

5. Patients must follow a special diet

So far, there’s no evidence that eating a certain food improves or worsens the disease. However, a study published by the Journal of Gastroenterology shows that there’s an open line of research. This research shows there may be a possible relationship between gluten consumption and fibromyalgia. However, they need more trials to make this claim.

What we do know is that those who have the disease are more likely to gain weight. Also, being overweight increases symptoms. So, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to avoid problems.

6. Misconceptions about fibromyalgia: There’s no treatment

We have learned that the drug used to treat fibromyalgia has significant efficacy in up to 40% of patients. This treatment involves the administration of analgesics, antidepressants, or anticonvulsants with prior medical approval.

Also, regular exercise coupled with the practice of relaxation techniques and cognitive-behavioral therapies have proven to be effective methods for a lot of patients. Also, it’s important to note that you won’t see the effects immediately. However, they will show up over time.

7. It causes serious sequelae

Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause any sequelae, and it’s also not a degenerative disease. This is because it doesn’t cause changes in the joints, bones, or muscles.

Also, it doesn’t lead to deformities or paralysis that will limit your movement. Also, it very rarely will cause neurological changes and it’s not always the cause of the patients’ pain.

Don’t be fooled by these misconceptions about fibromyalgia

As you can see, there are several misconceptions about fibromyalgia that have been perpetuated over the years. For that reason, it’s important to know how to identify and avoid them. 

First, you should visit a specialist to learn more about this disease. That’s the only way to ensure there isn’t any confusion.

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