I believe that fibromyalgia is a highly misunderstood medical condition in the US today. According to the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia is defined as widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood problems, However, because there is no true way of testing for this illness, fibromyalgia is only diagnosed based on how people describe their symptoms. In an article, the author explains the wide range of symptoms that can accompany fibromyalgia such as wide spread muscles pain, morning stiffness, mood swings, insomnia, irritable bladder, etc. Because there is such a wide range of symptoms, it is often very difficult for doctors to diagnose the condition, and they must rely only on the patients testimony.
According to the blog, culture seems to have an influence on the disease. Because the symptoms are not clear cut and there is no way to biologically test for the disease, the author felt that society sees fibromyalgia as “less of a disease,” and doesn’t take it as seriously. Often times fibromyalgia patients will look completely normal which gives the impression that the disease may not be real, or not as serious as patients feel it is. In addition, biomedicine also has an influence of the disease. Patients have a regimen of taking drugs everyday to help alleviate the many symptoms of the disease. This can become very discouraging knowing that you need to take so many medications to get relief and also knowing that all of these medications are only managing the symptoms rather than actually treating the disease.
After watching “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” I believe now more than ever that there is a direct link between belief and healing. In the video, they discussed a case in which a man had esophageal cancer and was told by his doctor that the outlook did not look very good. Soon after surgery the man passed away but the autopsy revealed that the cancer hadn’t progressed much at all. Could it be possible that his mindset that he was going to die is actually what killed him? I think our perception has a major impact on us physically. For example, I worked at assistant living and there was a lady who constantly wanted pain medicine and complained with no end. However, she was only schedule to take her pain medicine twice a day so in between when she would rant about how she needed more, the med passer would give her a candy or mint instead and tell her that it would help with the pain. Every time that the lady took a candy she instantly felt better, even though no real medication was given. This shows how pain can be all in your head, as well as experiencing relief from the pain. Our perception plays a strong role, and having the belief that we will feel better often leads to physical relief.
Mayo Clinic. “Fibromyalgia.” Definition. Accessed July 25, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/definition/con-20019243.
BlogHer. “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!.” BlogHer Editors. Accessed July 25, 2014. http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full