About 4 million American adults have fibromyalgia, a chronic medical condition that causes widespread pain and achiness, fatigue, and sleep problems. But, even though it’s so widespread, there are a lot of misconceptions about how fibromyalgia makes sufferers feel, what causes it, and how it’s treated.
When you have a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, having the support of loved ones can make managing your symptoms a lot easier. To do that, you need to be able to dispel misinformation and replace it with facts.
At Scottsdale Ketamine Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, our team has extensive experience helping fibromyalgia patients manage their symptoms effectively. In this blog, we explain some of the myths and facts about fibromyalgia and how ketamine therapy can help treat the condition.
Myths and facts about fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding fibromyalgia. Here’s what you need to know, so you can educate those around you.
Fact: Fibromyalgia is debilitating
The aching, pain, and stiffness of fibromyalgia isn’t the same as the discomfort someone might experience after a day of strenuous exercise. Symptoms tend to be more widespread.
Think of it this way: If you bump your knee or your elbow, you expect to have pain in those areas, because that’s where the injury occured.
With fibromyalgia, the pain has to do with nerve signals, which means the sensation of pain is actually occurring in the brain. That’s one reason why treating fibromyalgia using traditional pain management treatments is often ineffective for a lot of people.
Myth: Fibromyalgia isn’t a “real” medical problem
There’s a good reason why there are so many misconceptions about fibromyalgia. Until recently, even leaders in the medical community didn’t consider fibromyalgia a “real” medical condition. Even today, there are some health care providers who consider fibromyalgia to be more of an “emotional” or “psychological” issue than a physical medical problem.
That deep misunderstanding has hampered not only the treatment of fibromyalgia, but also critical research about the condition. So it’s not surprising that a lot of nonmedical people — such as friends and family members — may not understand that fibromyalgia and its symptoms are real.
Fact: Fibromyalgia causes more than pain
Because fibromyalgia is described as a pain syndrome, a lot of people mistakenly think that’s the only symptom. Actually, people with fibromyalgia tend to have other symptoms, too, such as:
- Tender spots
- Sleep problem
- Joint stiffness
- Digestive problems
Many people with fibromyalgia also have problems focusing or concentrating, symptoms sometimes referred to as “fibro fog.” Fibromyalgia has been described as a migraine that affects your whole body, or as a lifelong bout of flu. Using those sorts of analogies may help your loved ones understand the very real symptoms you’re experiencing.
Myth: Pain medicine makes fibromyalgia symptoms go away
Actually, many people with fibromyalgia find little if any improvement when using pain medicines. That’s because most pain medicines are designed to treat pain at a specific location in your body. Since fibromyalgia is a neurological issue associated with pain signaling in your brain, it needs a different approach.
Fact: Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder
While some people may compare fibromyalgia to arthritis because it can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, fibromyalgia can also cause pain and tenderness in other areas of the body as well.
Furthermore, fibromyalgia can cause symptoms other than pain, as described earlier. The American College of Rheumatology has published criteria that define fibromyalgia as a neurological disorder, not a joint problem.
Find relief for your fibromyalgia symptoms
One of the most common misconceptions a lot of patients have is that there’s no treatment that can provide lasting relief for fibromyalgia symptoms. But thanks to ketamine therapy, many women and men are able to find relief and get back to enjoying comfortable lives again.
Ketamine — which is an anesthetic that is delivered intravenously — works in your brain, blocking receptors responsible for pain sensations. Ketamine also triggers the release of a chemical called glutamate, a neurotransmitter that can help decrease pain signals between your brain and specific parts of your body.
To learn more about ketamine therapy and to see if it may be able to help you manage fibromyalgia, book an appointment online or over the phone with Scottsdale Ketamine Clinic today.