I believe fibromyalgia is a misunderstood medical condition in American culture. My grandfather also suffers from fibromyalgia, so I have some experience with the illness. The Mayo Clinic characterizes fibromyalgia as widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues (Mayo Clinic 2014). An article written by toydiva65 dives into the number of ranging symptoms she experiences with fibromyalgia. She experiences widespread pain, joint stiffness, insomnia, numbness, headaches etc. Her article has a somewhat sarcastic approach to describing the challenges she faces. I wonder if the way fibromyalgia is perceived in our culture affects her view of the illness. If the fact that her illness isn’t always recognized as an important condition, she gets a feeling that its something that will never be cured or treated and she must cope with it to the best of her abilities.

My grandfather experiences many of the symptoms mentioned in the blog, he has tried different medications with ranging temporary success. He is not a fan of taking many medications to treat his array of symptoms. Currently he has very few medications treating muscle and joint pain. I think the management and treatment of fibromyalgia is influenced by its perception in culture. The blog article mentions the medias oversimplification of fibromyalgia as just widespread pain. This could lead to a focus biomedically on only pain management, leaving other symptoms to go untreated.

I have seen a similar connection to belief and healing in my grandfather to the placebo affects used in the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code”. My grandfather hasn’t taken placebo pills but he has experienced belief in a new medication or lifestyle change that has led to healing at least temporarily. My grandfather always talks about the new diet trick he heard to help with joint pain or muscle pain, one that works for a short time but shows the initial power the mind has with healing.



“Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!.” BlogHer Editors. Accessed July 22, 2014.


Mayo Clinic. “Fibromyalgia” Accessed July 22, 2014.



This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Justin Blazejewski says:

    I found your grandfathers idea that a new diet would help with joint and/or muscle pain but for only a short time very interesting. I have never done an overwhelming amount of research on Fibromyalgia but from working at an assisted living home for two years, I have seen signs of this widespread pain some people explain to experience. A number of times I can remember the old folks whom were said to have Fibromyalgia describing feelings of discomfort in general areas without being able to pinpoint more specific locations. However, as soon as they were given their medication with their meal, they more often then not described relief and carried on talking to the other residents or boasting about the great meal.

    From that, I do see culture and those who surround these people to influence how they feel in relation to receiving medication or not. It’s a shame that the media portrays the condition as being such a general pain because it leaves people (mostly elderly) feeling confused and insistent that they feel pain and need medication for relief. However, it is great that your grandfather finds relief in a diet as this seems to be much more cost efficient and less stressful on him versus people whom carry the thought of reliance and dependency on medications to make themselves feel pain-free.

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