Why is fibromyalgia so poorly understood? It is complicated

Despite an increased awareness of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham, fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, is still largely misunderstood, even by doctors, according to a new study. Published in the journal  Arthritis Care & Research , the study suggests that a large number of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia may actually have something else. In fact, some people diagnosed with the condition do not meet the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, a chronic pain that causes sleep disturbances, tender points and generalized pain. We tell others who have it. This is a significant barrier to obtaining appropriate treatment in both cases.

“There are many reasons why people can have generalized chronic pain, which is essentially fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Kevin Hackshaw, a rheumatologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. did not participate in any of these studies. “People are all getting different labels for generalized chronic pain.”

Despite this, he says, fibromyalgia is probably still underdiagnosed. “The prevalence of fibromyalgia is underestimated. This is one of the biggest problems. “

Another study from Tel Aviv University found that fibromyalgia may be more likely to develop in people with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from sexual abuse that survived in childhood, and could eventually be treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A third study published in the  Clinical Journal of Pain  found that women with fibromyalgia are more likely to report a history of sexual assault and are more likely to suffer from PTSD than unconditional women.

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At the end of 2018, Lady Gaga explained how her own sexual assault had contributed to the onset of fibromyalgia. “I would see flashes of things torment me, experiences recorded in my brain as” I’ll do business with you later “for many years because my brain was protecting me as science says,” she said in a speech delivered at the third annual edition of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, patron of the Prix des artistes. “This eventually turned into chronic physical pain, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, acute traumatic reactions, and debilitating mental spirals, which included suicidal thoughts and masochistic behavior.”

Despite millions of people presenting with symptoms, some people (including doctors) do not believe at all that fibromyalgia is real. An article published in the journal  Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research  indicates that “some renowned rheumatologists do not believe that the disease exists”. Dr. Joseph Bernstein, author of the journal, explained that the reasons why fibromyalgia is so poorly understood are complex.

“The root cause of the fibromyalgia controversy is that reasonable people can say that fibromyalgia is more of a mental / cerebral illness than a musculoskeletal disease. But there is more than that, “he explained. “On the one hand, patients with fibromyalgia can easily frustrate us. Their complex presentation requires more time than the typical clinical cleft allows. “

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In short, patients with fibromyalgia need more time, effort and treatment than many doctors can provide, but that does not mean they are not real or deserve care. In her ELLE Women in Hollywood speech , Lady Gaga addressed the skeptics. “I have been diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia, which many people think badly, and I do not even know what I can say about it. But I will tell you what it is. It is a syndrome that is essentially a cyclone of stress-induced pain. ” The stress-induced pain is exactly what the Tel Aviv University study, the  Clinical Journal of Pain study  and Dr. Bernstein describe in connection with the state of chronic pain.

In his article, Dr. Bernstein wrote: “Fibromyalgia is real. Fibromyalgia is included in the tenth  edition of the International Classification of Diseases. He added that the pressure on doctors to be productive is part of the problem. “Imagine a world where doctors would not have to worry about their” clinical productivity “; where doctors did not determine disability or impairment; where they did not have to maintain the facade of omniscience. In this world, a patient suffering from generalized pains, sleep disorders and pain points arouses our sympathy and our attention without recrimination. “Maybe someday this world will be a reality.

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