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No doubt the majority of people, at least those located in the U.S.A., are familiar with the Mythbusters series on the Discovery Channel. They take myths and urban legends we have all heard of, and set out to either prove, or disprove them. For years, people exhibiting Fibromyalgia symtoms have endured a myriad of diagnose disasters at the hands of the very professionals they turned to for help. These diagnoses and early treatment protocols have taken on a life of their own, turning into myths that confuse the patients, their friends and families and many uneducated health care providers.

It it unfair to blame the health care providers of the past as available knowledge, and medical school did not prepare them for the confusing condition known as Fibromyalgia. However, the wealth of available new studies and a better insight into the mind, body connection should leave no doubt that Fibromyalgia is a very real, very damaging condition.

Despite the progress made by brave researchers, health care providers and grass-roots activists, many of the old myths remain alive and well. We are here to dispel those myths.

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Real or Busted?: Fibromyalgia affects the muscles and joints.
Busted: While the pain from FM feels like it is coming from the muscles and joints research has failed to show any damage to the musculoskeletal system. There is no reported damage to the muscles or joints in people with Fibromyalgia.

Real or Busted?: Fibromyalgia is just another form of arthritis.
Busted:  Fibromyalgia has been shown to be a neurologic disease affecting the central nervous system. Thanks to research we know that FM is not an inflammatory condition. There is no inflammation to either the muscles, bones or joints.

Real or Busted?: Fibromyalgia is a womans disease.
Busted: While the numbers have shown a large rate of women reporting Fibromyalgia symptoms some researchers attribute this to a woman's willingness to seek medical care, while men tend to shy away from doctors. Many children's aches are written off as growing pains, but a number of health care providers are taking a child's claim of pain seriously. In actuality Fibromyalgia affects men, women and children of all ages. It has also been suggested that since Fibromyalgia is more prevelant in people who have suffered physical, sexual or mental abuse that more women may suffer as they are the one of the largest groups of people targeted by abusers.

Real or Busted?: Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.
Busted: There is no known research to prove that FM is caused by any virus or bacteria. Nor has it ever been proven to be an immune disorder. (Many people with FM also suffer with autoimmune disease, such as Chohn's, Sjogren's or thyroid disease, but no link has been made between the two.)

Real or Busted?: Fibromyalgia is all in your head, just a psychological problem or depression.
Busted: It is a known fact that the level of Fibromyalgial patients with depression is no higher than that of people suffering from other chronic illnesses. The illness causes the depression, not the other way around. Fibromyalgia is a real disorder with documented biological abnormalities, such as;
             Low levels of serotonin, dopamine, cortisol.
             Abnormal levels of "substance P," a neurotransmitter that helps your brain process pain signals.
             Low levels of nerve growth factor.
             Decreased blood flow to certain areas of the brain that may help you control your pain sensitivity and cognitive functions.

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Jane Kohler is not a health care professional. Jane has lived with FM for forty years and has been a staunch activist for chronic pain patients. She has read every piece of research available and has talked to numerous health care providers for more years than she cares to admit to. As always, educate your self but never make any changes to your health care routine without consulting with your doctor first.

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Page Updated: January 02, 2009

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