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Fibromyalgia Myths

Updated on August 24, 2011

Myth # 1: Only women get Fibromyalgia.

Fact: FM has long been thought of as a women’s disease. Research however shows that between 10%-40% of Fibromyalgia sufferers are men. As research is scarce it is difficult to know which number is most accurate.

Myth # 2: Only older people get Fibromyalgia.

Fact: FM is diagnosed in people of all ages, I myself was diagnosed at 19, I have heard of people being diagnosed as young as 10. Sufferers are most often diagnosed between the ages of 20-50, but children as well as older adults have FM.

Myth # 3: Fibromyalgia is not real.

 Fact: FM is a very real physical condition, though there is contention over whether or not it is technically a disease. Most people who argue that FM is not real, or not a disease are not suggesting that the pain we feel is not real, not even that it is all in our heads. As a result of a lack of research however the medical world is full of different theories as to what causes our pain. The most commonly accepted of which is that FM is a neurological disease.

Myth # 4: Fibromyalgia is never cured.

Fact: There are people in the world that have recovered from Fibromyalgia. If you google FM recovery you will come across plenty of stories. In my experience I have found that most of them are either trying to sell you something or the writer is not, in fact, fully recovered. Regardless, sifting through the nonsense will allow you to find a few gems of truth. It does happen.


Myth # 5: Fibromyalgia is all in our heads.

Fact: Fm is a real, physical, medical condition that requires treatment in order to be managed. Will and gumption are simply not going to be enough to get over the myriad of symptoms. While things like relaxation and therapy may help you to handle your condition more effectively they will not cure you.

Myth # 6: If doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong, fibromyalgia is the go-to diagnosis.

Fact: FM is difficult to diagnose and is often confused with other conditions but it is it’s own unique syndrome. There was a time when FM was frequently misdiagnosed but today, with all the forms of medical testing available, this happens considerably less frequently.

Myth # 7: People with FM are just lazy and don’t want to power through.

Fact: When people first begin to experiences the symptoms of FM their first reaction is almost invariably to “power through” the pain, fatigue, headaches and other symptoms. Unfortunately they discover fairly quickly that when you have FM powering through leads to debilitating flare-ups. Pushing through pain quickly becomes an impossibility.

Myth # 8: Fibromyalgia is fatal.

Fact: A recent study about the malignancy of FM has shown that it is a completely benign condition. It does not cause deterioration over time. FM sufferers have similar life expectancies as non-sufferer. The exceptions to this rule are that due to fatigue and brain-fog FM sufferers have a slightly higher rate of accidental death and due to the difficulty of dealing with a chronic condition sufferers have a considerably higher rate of death by suicide.

Myth # 9: Fibromyalgia is a new condition.

Fact: As far as we know FM has been around for about as long as people have. Because the main symptoms are ones that cannot be tested for such as pain and fatigue its epithet as the “Invisible Illness” has meant that it has been hard to pinpoint throughout history. FM has been known by many different names and has been treated in many different ways. Even today the condition is not fully understood by modern science.

Myth # 10: Fibromyalgia is a rare condition.

Fact: between 1-4% of people experience FM, while this may not sound like very many it works out to about 600,000 people in the US alone.

Myth # 11: Fibromyalgia causes harm to your body.

Fact: Indirectly FM can cause deterioration of muscles as using them becomes more and more painful and taxing, however the connection is not causal. It is simply a correlation. If the sufferer works to maintain good eating habits and builds up a moderate exercise routine over time their body will be as healthy as a non-sufferer.

Myth # 12: Fibromylagia is a form of arthritis.

Fact: Because FM pain is primarily in the muscles and connective tissues it was once thought to be either a form of arthritis or a related condition. However FM pain is not accompanied by the redness or swelling that occurs with arthritis. Today FM is considered most frequently to be a neurological disease.

Myth # 13: Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.

Fact: Research into FM has shown that the pain and other symptoms are not caused by an virus or bacteria that can be treated and has no affect on the bodies immune system.

Myth # 14: Fibromyalgia is caused by depression.

Fact: Many people with FM have depression, but the number of depressed patients is no greater than any other chronic condition. The fact is that having a chronic condition with no known cure depresses people.

Myth # 15: FM is just about pain.

Fact: There are many other symptoms that occur along with and sometimes separate from the pain that is so often associated with FM. These symptoms include, but are certainly not limited to headaches, brain-fog, poor cognitive functioning, fatigue, tingling and frequently dropping things.

Myth # 16: Exercise is harmful for people with Fibromyalgia.

Fact: The opposite is true. Starting a gradual exercise routine can make a big difference in your daily life and pain levels.

Myth # 17: Fibromyalgia can be completely cured by berries, pills, special juice, magic…

Fact: There are people who experience reversal of symptoms but that doesn’t mean that doing one thing will work for everybody. Be very cautious of claims that one step is a cure-all.

Myth # 18: There is no way to treat Fibromyalgia.

Fact: There are many ways to treat FM but not every treatment works for every person. One must try things until they find something that works including medications, lifestyle changes, supplements, alternative medicines etc.

Myth # 19: Fibromyalgia is not a big deal, and not a life-altering condition.

Fact: Most FM sufferers must endure huge life changes including changes in their lifestyle, diet, exercise, daily activities, hobbies, and pacing. Many people find it necessary to changes careers or stop working altogether. Being diagnosed with FM means many things in your life will change, but if you make the right changes it can affect your whole life for the better.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome be sceptical about what you read and what you are told. Unfortunately a condition that has no known cure and so drastically changes the lives of sufferers opens the door for many opportunities with no scruples who are ready to take advantage. These opportunists include but are not limited to people with shady websites. You must take care of yourself and be proactive in your own healthcare.


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    • mismazda profile image


      6 years ago from a southern georgia peach

      Great hub and true facts....having FM and Sjogrens is a daily battle....prayers for you...:)

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Thanks LivingFood. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the hub. To be honest though, most doctors who treat people with FMS say that while some people do recover the majority do not. For most people FM will last a lifetime. Though I would love to look forward to the day that I'll be cured, I would much rather live life to the fullest now, and learn to do it in spite of FMS.

    • LivingFood profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very good hub! It is curable and I am glad that you put that out there because many sufferers do not realize that. Just knowing that can ease the mind and put one on the road to a quicker recovery.

      Thank you!

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Lupus is often associated with FM as some of the symptoms overlap and sometimes one is mistaken for the other. It is very important for doctors and sufferers to make the distinction though as the treatments are very different.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub HVW :)

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      7 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Thank you for the insights for I was in the dark on this condition. In some ways FM reminds me of Lupis for that condition is also one that is hard to diagnose. I will read more of your hubs so I can gain a better understanding!

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it James. I'm also glad to hear that your son got diagnosed. It's often harder for men to be diagnosed with FM as sufferers are overwhemlingly female. The voice of the male FM sufferer is even more ignored than the rest of us. Hopefully he will find this article helpful.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this excellent article. I agree with your analysis. My son has fibromyalgia. I'll forward this to him.

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      No problem Callie, glad you're enjoying them. It makes me feel very accomplished to know that I'm educating people about FM, especially ppl who don't have it. Hopefully that will mean more acceptance in the future.

    • calliemorris profile image


      7 years ago from London

      Have checked out your other hubs, you have some really great ones! Thanks a lot for all the info too - so interesting.

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Thanks Dee, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I certainly learned a few things while writing the hub.

      Callie, I have written a few hubs about FM and I purposely left a concise description out of this one. When you have FM everyone is always trying to tell you what you have and it becomes very obnoxious. Feel free to check out my other hubs on the topic for a better descriptions, here's a quick one though:

      FM is a chronic condition whose main characteristrics are pain and fatigue but these are accompanied by many other symptoms. Very little research has been done (though more every year) recent studies suggest that it may be a neurological disease.

    • calliemorris profile image


      7 years ago from London

      This is a great informative hub! Although I'm still unsure what Fibromyalgia actually is... Maybe some information at the top about it would make this hub even better? Is it similar to MS? But all the same, I feel I've learnt a lot from you, thanks :)

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      What an excellent collection of information on FMS! I've was diagnosed 7 years ago with it and so have read quite a bit, but I still learned some things from this. The "myth" format makes an easy read, too. Bookmarking!


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