By Donna Gregory Burch.
Do you view fibromyalgia as an incurable disease or a symptom of a deeper problem within the body? The answer to that question makes a difference in how we manage life with fibromyalgia and if recovery is possible.
If we believe fibromyalgia is a disease in and of itself, we take on the baggage that comes with that. Namely:
- There is no cure for fibromyalgia. We will live with chronic pain and 50+ other life-sucking symptoms the rest of our lives. Oh joy!
- Certain drugs and exercise may lessen our symptoms but probably not, according to clinical data.
- We need to suck it up and wait for some pharmaceutical company to develop a drug to fix us. Of course, said drug is not really going to cure us because there’s no money to be made in doing that. It’ll just stifle symptoms and cause its own set of side effects in the process - likely at a cost many of us can’t afford!
That’s a pretty dismal view of life with fibromyalgia, and I personally don’t accept it. I think it’s time for us to start looking at fibromyalgia differently! Instead of popping pills and waiting for a cure, let’s be proactive and focus our energies on actually healing the body, not just treating symptoms.
There’s ongoing debate on whether fibromyalgia is an actual disease or a syndrome, which a collection of symptoms of unknown origin. My view is that fibromyalgia symptoms are a signal that something has gone horribly wrong in the body.
I want to be clear: I am NOT saying fibromyalgia isn’t real! Our fibro symptoms definitely exist. They scream at us all day, every day. But I do not believe a fibromyalgia diagnosis is a life sentence of misery.
People can and do beat this condition!
I think if we can figure out the underlying cause(s) of our symptoms, recovery may be possible - or at least a noticeable improvement in our overall quality of life.
You’re probably wondering, “How am I supposed to figure out what’s causing my fibromyalgia symptoms when even my doctors can’t?” If you step outside the world of conventional medicine, there ARE known causes for the symptoms that manifest as fibromyalgia. Undiagnosed infections, heavy metal toxicity, mold exposure, food allergies and poor gut health, among others, can all cause and intensify fibromyalgia symptoms.
Our bodies are beautiful, elegant machines. They are designed to heal, so if we support our bodies in that effort, improvement is possible. We know, at least anecdotally, that certain therapies can and do improve the quality of life for those with fibromyalgia. We can also learn from those who have already recovered and find patterns in the steps they took to regain their lives.
So how can you support your body in healing? Over the coming months (or more likely, years because this topic is so rich with material), I am planning to do a series of articles on that very topic:
- I’ll cover the high rate of misdiagnosis in the fibromyalgia community. Too many doctors are diagnosing fibromyalgia without fully ruling out other conditions. One research study found up to two-thirds of fibromyalgia patients were misdiagnosed. Sadly, that means millions of fibro warriors may actually have treatable medical conditions! I plan to compile a list of conditions frequently mislabeled as fibromyalgia to help determine if our doctors got it right.
- I’ll discuss environmental and other factors that lead to fibromyalgia symptoms and how to reduce our exposure to toxins that are likely exasperating our symptoms.
- I’ll share steps we can take to help our bodies heal and feel better overall. Healing involves much more than your conventional doctor’s curt advice of exercising and losing weight!
- And finally, I plan to feature interviews with people who have recovered from fibromyalgia or are well on the path to recovery. The purpose of this is two-fold: It reminds us that recovery is possible, and it gives us a bit of a roadmap on what has worked for others.
I believe the key to feeling better is figuring out your specific underlying cause(s), and then addressing those in a systematic manner while also supporting the body in a healing way. Lots of small steps over time can make a difference! I’ve learned that from my own healing journey.
I know some of you are already calling BS. You’re likely thinking, “Is she serious? I’ve tried everything, and nothing helps!” That’s ok. I understand the skepticism. I’m not claiming to have a cure, and I’m not making any promises.
I just know many of my fellow fibro warriors are suffering way more than they need to be. This series is my attempt to help alleviate some of that suffering. Let’s do this!
Future articles will publish here on NationalPainReport.com, or you’re always welcome to subscribe to my blog at FedUpwithFatigue.com.
Donna Gregory Burch was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2014 after several years of unexplained pain, fatigue and other symptoms. She was later diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Donna covers news, treatments, research and practical tips for living better with fibromyalgia and Lyme on her blog, FedUpwithFatigue.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Donna is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared online and in newspapers and magazines throughout Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She lives in Delaware with her husband and their many fur babies.