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5 Things People Don't Understand About Fibromyalgia

Jan 01, 2024
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If you struggle with chronic pain that seems to radiate all over your body, you could have a condition called fibromyalgia. Misconceptions about fibromyalgia abound. Following are five facts about fibromyalgia that most people don’t understand.

About 4 million women and men in the United States suffer from a diffuse pain condition known as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia heightens your perception of pain so stimuli that wouldn't affect somebody else might be excruciating to you. 

It can also affect how you feel and react to the world around you. As with many chronic pain conditions, fibromyalgia may impact your mood and can make getting a good night’s sleep challenging. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue not improved by rest
  • Brain fog 
  • Insomnia
  • Moodiness, depression, or anxiety
  • Muscle fatigue, cramps, and twitches
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Painful menstruation
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes, loud noises, or bright lights

At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our experienced team diagnoses and treats fibromyalgia as part of our wellness and longevity services. Fibromyalgia pain isn’t “just in your head”; you can get relief.

Because researchers don’t yet know why some people develop fibromyalgia and others don’t, misconceptions about the condition abound. Following are five facts about this misunderstood condition.

1. Fibromyalgia may start with trauma or stress

The exact cause of this condition is unclear. Some sort of physical or mental trauma could trigger fibromyalgia, such as:

  • Injury
  • Obesity
  • Infection
  • Surgery
  • Psychological stress
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus 

The state of being in stress and trauma seems to initiate a cascade of pain-related events that eventually become diffuse, so the pain you experience may not be easily traced to the initiating event. In other cases, however, fibromyalgia seems to develop gradually out of nowhere.

2. It's not in your head, but it shows in your head

Years ago, fibromyalgia was often dismissed by medical professionals because it most commonly affects older women. They were told that the pain was in their heads and that it wasn’t a real condition.

In one sense, those practitioners were right: Fibromyalgia affects the way your brain processes pain. In fact, brain imaging studies in fibromyalgia patients demonstrate alterations in how neural pathways transmit pain signals — they feel pain when others don’t.

But the practitioners were also wrong: Fibromyalgia is a real, physical condition and not an emotional one. The stress of dealing with chronic pain can also cause emotional distress, however, including depression and anxiety.

3. Fibromyalgia can be serious

Dealing with chronic pain and some other symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as sleep disturbances, takes a toll physically and mentally. Complications of unmanaged, untreated fibromyalgia include hospitalization, low quality of life, depression and increased risk for suicide, higher risk for arthritis and for injuries.

However, fibromyalgia isn’t a progressive disease, so it doesn’t get worse over time. Sometimes, fibromyalgia goes into remission. In most cases, it’s a chronic, life-long condition.

4. You can identify your triggers

Fibromyalgia tends to flare. If you keep a journal, you should be able to identify your personal triggers and take care to avoid them or minimize their effect. Common triggers include:

  • Stressful events
  • Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy
  • Changes in the weather

Learning your triggers helps you feel more in control of your condition.

5. Fibromyalgia can be managed

As of now, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia. However, we recommend lifestyle changes that can minimize flares or subdue pain, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Joining a support group
  • Eating a healthy, noninflammatory diet

We also offer treatments, such as glutathione IV treatments. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that fights the free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and damage healthy cells. Glutathione also controls inflammation that may contribute to chronic pain.

Do you have fibromyalgia? Find out how to feel better and minimize flares by contacting Advanced Medical Care today. You can call the office convenient to you or book online anytime.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.