5 Popular Fibromyalgia Myths Debunked

Fibromyalgia is often mistaken for other chronic pain conditions, disorders, and diseases.

There’s widespread misinformation about this disease, which has created a lot of confusion.

Let’s dig into it and separate five common fibromyalgia facts from fiction. 

1. Fibromyalgia isn’t real. (Wrong!!!)

Many doctors tell patients with fibromyalgia symptoms that the disease doesn’t exist. Then a rheumatologist or pain specialist diagnoses them with fibromyalgia. What’s going on here?

It’s simple. Everyone has blood pressure and blood sugar and experiences physical and emotional pain to some degree.

Doctors diagnose diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) when blood sugar and blood pressure are above the normal range on a sliding scale.

And that’s how they diagnose fibromyalgia, with pain being the variable that goes beyond the normal range instead of blood pressure or blood sugar.

Now, pain and fatigue from exercise, injuries, and lack of sleep comes and goes. It’s normal. But steady pain in several or more body parts for three months or longer isn’t, and fibromyalgia may be to blame.

2. Fibromyalgia is just normal muscle pain. (Wrong!!!)

General practitioners tend to think the cause of muscle pain and discomfort is in the immediate area. So, if your knee or ankle hurts, the problem must be in your knee or ankle. 

The reality, however, is that fibromyalgia pain is likely neurological (a problem with the central nervous system), and has non-pain symptoms.

3. Fibromyalgia is a fallback diagnosis. (Wrong!!!)

It’s often called a fallback diagnosis because there isn’t one specific test or telltale symptom used to diagnose it. 

However, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has developed specific diagnostic criteria.

These factors indicate fibromyalgia (according to the ACR): 

a) Recent pain and other symptoms such as fatigue and mental disturbances in the past week. The pain reaches a specific severity level and occurs in at least several out of 19 parts of the body.

Symptoms include fatigue, non-restoring sleep, and cognitive problems (memory and thinking impairment).

b) At least three months of consistent symptoms.

c) Absence of other health problems to account for these symptoms.

4. Fibromyalgia is just masked depression. (Wrong!!!)

Fibromyalgia and depression (major depressive disorder) are often associated because of their overlapping symptoms.

Many fibromyalgia patients also have depression, and many patients with depression also suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms. 

However, many people with fibromyalgia don’t have depression, and many people with depression don’t have fibromyalgia. 

5. Only women get fibromyalgia. (Wrong!!!)

Women account for at least 75% of fibromyalgia cases, and men are less likely to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis. However, that doesn’t mean men are less likely to develop the disease.

 Gender-based bias in diagnosing fibromyalgia may be why women account for most cases.

Fibromyalgia Pain Treatment in Texas

Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or think you may have it? At Texas Pain Physicians, our expert pain specialists will find the cause of your pain or discomfort and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

To learn more or book an appointment, please give us a call. You can also make an appointment online 24/7.