W4 Reflection: Fibromyalgia

I read the blog post on fibromyalgia [FMS] and learned quickly of the difficulty it brings to all those it affects, indirectly and directly. Unfortunately for both the patient and medical practitioners this illness is a syndrome with no medically explainable cause. Sufferers experience a variety of terrible and ever present symptoms. Ranging in the mild end of the pain spectrum from headaches to the most severe end being partial paralysis due to muscle stiffness and pain, those affected by this syndrome barely function at a normal day to day level. The greatest difficulty of this syndrome in regards to the illness narrative is the inability for those not affected by FMS to understand what the sufferer is experiencing because as before mentioned, there are not explainable medical reasons. Medical professionals are more than aware of this condition and are often quick to prescribe medications to relieve each and every symptom. This approach focuses on individual symptoms and never the greater syndrome itself. Whether this approach is because of general lack of medical understanding or whether sufferers are unable to locate or provide an accurate enough narrative, it leaves all parties involved with little to work with. People in general with these type of non medically explainable syndromes, find it tough to fully explain their condition and in return people on the outside of the syndrome don’t typically give sympathy or understand the difficulties that come with the illness, as mentioned in lecture.

The connection between belief and healing as detailed in “Placebo: Cracking the Code” is strong. Strong in the sense that those that believe they were receiving either a complex surgery, a large dosage of a highly effective medication, etc. experienced measurable, curative results. In groups suffering from conditions that were treated with the placebo cures (obviously without knowledge of that) had relief from their symptoms more often than not. It is the deduction from this study and similar studies that those that believe they are receiving treatment, regardless of the actual intended effects of that treatment, experience beneficial results. When I was a child and complained of a headache or tummy ache, my mother, quick as can be would give me a glass full of ginger ale and kiss my forehead, assuring me of a quick recovery. To this day, I find that a glass of ginger ale and a blanket offer immediate and comforting relief. The belief I had in my mom’s treatment allowed measurable relief to whatever inane and exaggerated symptom I was experiencing. Additionally whenever I would get a sucker at the doctors office after a shot, I remember no longer being afraid or in pain.

2 thoughts on “W4 Reflection: Fibromyalgia

  1. My understanding of fibromyalgia is that it is unexplained nerve sensitivity and muscle pain that becomes chronic. I also understood that it is fairly common in the U.S. and throughout the world most commonly in adults.
    I think my family was probably my biggest influence on medical questions. More often than not the things they told me turned out to be true according to medical textbooks and my professors. Luckily, I have smart parents, so I never really had an issue with getting the right answer to science questions.
    Second on the list would be my professors. It’s not that I don’t trust them as much as my parents, but rather, they’re less available and therefore have a lesser influence on my beliefs and perceptions. I hope that they can soon be a much bigger influence on my perception of the medical world.
    And finally, I think my friends influence my beliefs to a certain degree. Sometimes they tell me things about people or animals that I had no idea about. Just today, my friend told me that cuttlefish are highly intelligent. I had no idea! On top of that, some of them are highly perceptive and can catch things that I don’t in articles, movies, books, etc.

  2. From a culture perspective, my own perception of fibromyalgia is not that good. Meaning, that because of the way our culture views this illness, I am viewing it in the same light. Fibromyalgia patients are seen as being overdramatic, needy, and sometimes are pain pill seekers. My biomedical perception largely comes from being a scribe in the emergency department for the past 3 years. These patients have unexplained chronic pain. It seems that when a doctor runs out of other life threatening reasons for having chronic muscle aches and nerve sensitivity, patients are then diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

    Everyday my perceptions are influenced by others, especially my family and friends. Family and friends are the people that I am closest to and then obviously trust the most. My parents have probably had the biggest impact on my perception, but as I am becoming older (and I would hope to think more wise), my perceptions are changing a bit. Social institutions and also my employment has a large factor on my perceptions. They say, “birds of a feather, flock together” and people who are socially alike tend to have the same perceptions and thoughts on a topic. The news also is a large factor in my perceptions as the reports are able to portray any sort of perception of a topic.

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