Culture can affect the illness experience of fibromyalgia by invalidating the illness itself. Many women, as shown in the article on shame that is felt by women with chronic pain disorders, feel ashamed of having fibromyalgia because, as a culture, we invalidate it as an illness. Many people feel as though others with fibromyalgia are attention-seeking, are looking for a way to get a prescription for heavy painkillers, or are looking to get disability checks from the government to get by without having a job. For many people suffering from fibromyalgia this is not true, but because of the stigma attached to it, many people suffering from fibromyalgia suffer in silence and would rather suffer in pain than have to deal with the shame of owning the illness itself. Biomedicine can also affect the illness experience by either curing the illness or being able to make it manageable for the person suffering from the illness. It can also help by showing proof that the illness really does exist and isn’t made up to help relieve the stigma from the culture.

Both of these can influence the management and treatment of fibromyalgia. If fibromyalgia is viewed as a real illness, there will be more medications and treatments available to help treat and manage the pain felt by people suffering from fibromyalgia. It can also affect the treatment of fibromyalgia by encouraging those suffering from it to seek help to manage the pain by validating it as a real illness and removing the stigma surrounding fibromyalgia.

Belief and healing are definitely connected. It has been proven in many, many studies that placebos can have almost as much if not the same effect as a true medication if the person taking it believes it will work. Belief plays a big part in healing as well because those who believe in religious healing can have a more positive outlook and gain positive results from healing processes just from their beliefs.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. AnnMarie Maniaci says:

    To be entirely honest, I did not know anything about fibromyalgia before this week’s learning materials. Therefore, I can understand why it is so misconstrued by today’s society. Everything I had previously seen about fibromyalgia was from commercials on TV for medications. As Edie shares in her blog, the commercials are far from accurate in describing the immense pain that unfortunately can result from the bones and tendons being overly tender. This kind of illness is greatly influenced by culture, friends, and family. For instance, people have a hard time relating to or empathizing with a pain that not only can they not feel, but also they cannot even see it. This results in many people thinking that people are exaggerating the pain they’re feeling from fibromyalgia, rather than understanding that the patient is in fact suffering from an immense amount of pain. Biologically, the pain is the result of increased sensitivity of a nerve. Culturally, however, people have the misconstrued perception of laziness or even attention-seeking. It doesn’t help that the disease is much more common in women, seeing as they are looked at by society as the weaker sex. Personally, I believe one should never judge or make assumptions about an illness they haven’t done any of their own research on. The symptoms themselves would cause enough stress and agony without adding the judgment of others, whom in reality, have no idea what they’re talking about.

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