Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a strongly misunderstood illness in our western civilization. The disease is characterized by unexplainable, sometimes debilitating pain with seemingly no source or reason for the pain. Our culture and use of biomedicine can make the illness experience of these victims far worse than it has to be. Victims of this disorder are constantly told they should not have pain or that the pain they experience is just in their heads. This makes these people seem like liars in a cultural and medical sense when they may actually be experiencing pain. This syndrome could be something similar to a nocebo affect in which these patients have mentally conditioned themselves to feel this pain even though a source of the pain does not exist. The way the victims of fibromylagia are portrayed would affect the management and treatment of this condition drastically. These people are constantly told that there is no reason for them to be feeling pain or sometimes even stigmatized as liars or people just looking for pain medication, when in reality many of these people may experience severe pain with no cause. This would cause these patients to not only feel physical pain from their condition but also emotional trauma from constantly being told they are not experiencing something they as a person truly believe is happening. These stigmas can even be placed on the victim by doctors who are not taking the patient seriously, negatively affecting any treatment for this condition. I think the connection between belief and healing is very strong and almost directly proportional, in many cultures where certain diseases exist like the “ojo” (evil eye) people will come down with symptoms almost identical to those described even though there is no biomedical basis for the condition. Also, like the placebo surgeries done in ” Placebo: Cracking the Code” these people believed they had a real surgery and had far better results than any of the other patients who actually received a real surgery.  These instances indicate that if one believes they are healed that they have a much stronger chance of feeling that way throughout their lives.

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