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Misinformation can be as harmful as a misdiagnosis. The following are a few of the myths about Fibromyalgia (FM) and the facts.

Myth 1: Fibromyalgia is Not Real.

Fibromyalgia is recognized as a medical condition by well-known, expert groups such as:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • American Medical Association
  • American College of Rheumatology
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Social Security Administration
  • And all major insurers

The cause of the condition is not known, and there is no cure, but it can be diagnosed and treated.

Myth 2: Fibromyalgia is Caused by Depression.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is not caused by depression. FM is a very painful and frustrating illness to have. FM symptoms like chronic headaches, sleep disorders, and muscle aches and pains can make living with the illness difficult and tiresome. Lack of understanding from the medical community, as well as friends & family members, can also make many FM sufferers feel isolated and alone.

As a result, many people with FM experience chronic depression alongside their illness. Depression can leave you feeling alone, anxious, and extremely sad, and can make FM even more troublesome to deal with. It is important to recognize the symptoms of depression so that you can seek appropriate treatment from your health care provider.

Myth 3: Fibromyalgia is a New and Rare Condition.

Fibromyalgia has been recognized by healthcare providers for a long time. Physicians wrote about "muscular rheumatism," a condition involving fatigue, stiffness, aches, pains and sleep disturbances back in the 1800's. The current term was coined in 1976. 1 The American College of Rheumatology set out its diagnostic criteria in 1990. Fibromyalgia is one of this country's most common types of chronic widespread pain.

Myth 4: Fibromyalgia Affects Only Women and Older Adults.

Fibromyalgia strikes both sexes and people of all ages.2 The condition occurs in about one in 30 women. It strikes 1 in 200 men. The risk of developing Fibromyalgia increases the older one gets.

Myth 5: Fibromyalgia is Deadly.

Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening. However, Fibromyalgia does have an impact on quality of life and daily life. With proper treatment, people with Fibromyalgia can see symptoms improve.3

Myth 6: It is not possible to have a good quality of life with Fibromyalgia.

People with Fibromyalgia can live full, happy lives. There are tips they can follow to feel better. There are treatments available to help manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. The understanding of fibromyalgia among the public, scientists and healthcare providers is getting better each day. More and more research is being conducted. New treatments are in development. The future is bright!

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  • 1. Inanici F, Yunus MB. History of Fibromyalgia: past to present. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2004;8:369-78.

  • 2. American Pain Society. Guideline for the Management of Fibromyalgia Syndrome Pain in Adults and Children: APS Clinical Practice Guidelines. 2005. Series, No. 4.

  • 3. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Fibromyalgia: Questions and Answers About Fibromyalgia. Available at: Accessed October 26, 2008.
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