Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disease comprised of a multitude of painful bodily sensations and which is also largely misunderstood in our society. As characterized in “Fibromyalgia+ The Type ‘A’ Personality= Chaos, Frustration, and Near Insanity!,” this illness consists of a myriad of widely different symptoms that also vary from person to person making it very difficult to assess. The author describes symptoms such as wide spread muscle pain, morning stiffness, gritty eyes, mood swings, insomnia, irritable bladder and even signs of a heart attack. This disease is therefore largely subjective meaning that doctors must rely on the patient to relay his/her experience in order to produce a diagnosis. As described in “’I am not the kind of woman who complains of everything’: Illness stories on self and shame in women with chronic pain,” many doctors are skeptical or hesitant to diagnose such illnesses with no scientific proof aside from the testimony of the patient. As a result, many people do not receive much help for their condition and become discouraged. In our culture, it is almost necessary for us to receive some sort of validation for our illness to make sure that it is not all in our head.

Although some of the symptoms concurrent with fibromyalgia may require actual medical attention, I believe that most of the effects, being mainly feelings or sensations, may be cured by the placebo effect if there is enough belief behind it. The effect that this illness has on the body may be entirely driven on the power that the mind of the afflicted individual gives to it. Therefore the best treatment for such an illness may be a placebo. As demonstrated in the video “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” several cases of similar illnesses have shown dramatic improvement with the treatment of a placebo, proving that, in some cases, the illness is only as strong or as weak as the patient believes it to be. Even in such cases as a crippling birth defect (also shown in the video), some people have experienced improvement in their condition as a direct correlation to their strong belief in their own religious healing practices. The mind is a powerful thing, and we may never fully understand it. But it would be well worth our time to investigate methods of treatment that deal with raising the spirits of the affected people, which is often just as effective as prescription medications.

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