All the Rumors: Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) has been around for a long time, although it has not been recognized as a biological syndrome with physical symptoms to be treated until fairly recently. There were and still are myths floating around about the syndrome that are simply untrue. Until these myths are dispelled, individuals with the syndrome will continue to be misdiagnosed and subjected to treatments that do not help, increasing their frustration and distress.
For a long time, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) was considered to be a psychosomatic illness. When individuals went to their doctors for help with the symptoms they were experiencing, they were sent to a psychologist to solve the issue. Although there are psychological symptoms related to Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), such as depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders, these to not address the entirety of the issues caused by the syndrome.
Another misconception was that women were the only ones who had the symptoms. Since that was the case, linked with the belief that the syndrome was psychosomatic, it led to calling the syndrome ‘hysteria’ or a ‘woman’s disease.’ Doctors and scientists did the community as a whole a disservice by lumping the syndrome into the psychosomatic category without further research since the syndrome is not just found in women, but in men and children as well.
One benefit of this incorrect diagnosis was that behavioral therapy was used to help with the symptoms, which is still found to be useful in patients today. By addressing stress and modifying beliefs about stressful situations, the patient is better able to relax, sleep, and gives his body time to mend.
Rare, Damaging, and Fatal?
Although Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome is damaging on an emotional and physical level as far as what the patient has to deal with on a day to day basis, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is not progressively damaging to the body. In other words, it does not harm other organs, nor does it progressively tear down the muscle tissue. The pain of Fibromyalgia can get worse over time, but on a biological level, it does not tear down the body’s systems nor is it fatal.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) was also thought to be a rare syndrome, but is found in about six percent of the population today, meaning millions of Americans are affected by it. As mentioned, it was though to only be found in women, but it is now known that men, women, children and the elderly are all susceptible to the syndrome.