Researching the Internet Today about the Outdated Opinion that Fibromyalgia “is all in your head”

Hi Peers,

I began researching this subject to post for today’s blog, on the internet, hoping to find current research that denied this 19_’s doctors approach. I must have entered in a horrible sequence of words as the first page showed every website stating that we suffered from a fake disease. That is actually just depression! One outrageous blogger inflamed all of us by stating that “pain is not felt in muscles or anywhere else but is fired in our brain” creating the only the feeling that it was in our muscles or elsewhere. He went on to state that if one got their life together all would be fine. This made me very angry, the rest, sad and frustrated.

Despite the great amount of empirical research by credited researchers stating all the various dysfunctional actions in important areas of our bodies, too many doctors still believe that treating depression, treats our pain. Some people do benefit from Lyrica or Cymbalta, which was created solely for depression. Others have no benefit from this. I posted very recently that we can be depressed for a day or week. Perhaps even longer depending on how our pain meter is reacting. However, depression is a secondary issue caused by unrelenting pain.

I have friends who go through depressive days/weeks/months when they are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Does this mean its al in their head? NO. They are not automatically prescribed antidepressant meds. This always makes me question the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and our doctors. A point that is appearing more often in posts as a valid one, but for me, overplayed. Doctors are concerned about us becoming “dependent” on opioid medications.

Yes they are correct, we will become physically dependent on these types of pain meds if taken over a long period of time. Yes, some may became addicted mentally; this is a horrible situation for those who do. If taken as prescribed and you are honest with your doctor when and if you take more for bad months, unless you have other mental health or life stressors that lead you to become mentally addicted, being physically addicted is not the end of the world. The worst part of our current pain medications is that they all add in acetaminophen.  This is a known stressor on the liver; if you take medication that includes acetaminophen,  please take it according to the FDA approved daily amount.

Getting back to the topic of whether it’s all in our head, as stated above,  it has been proven that our pain very real. It is in our brain’s processing of pain, it is in our spinal fluid with several dysfunctional substances, it is in our central nervous system and our peripheral nervous system. Despite this current research, I still read on the forums I follow that people with new symptoms that appear to match fibromyalgia are still being forced to spend years going to different specialists, getting multiple types of needless tests and even being unable to find a doctor in their area who will take them seriously.

I was fortunate when I started having symptoms. I had a wonderful Nurse Practitioner who never gave up on finding out what was wrong. She offered pain medication immediately. I refused it for over a year, but after spending that year sobbing in pain on my couch, I happily took it! She did send me to that round of specialists but it was in an effort to find a correct diagnosis and help me live my life again. I will never be able to thank this woman enough, never. She never said it was all in my head, go home and get a hobby or make a meal for your husband. I never expected it was fibromyalgia. When I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was so upset that in tears I begged the specialist to not put that in my permanent chart! LOL>

The point of this post today is this; if you have a sudden onset of strange muscle pains around your body, go to a doctor. It may be something else so it’s important to get there as soon as possible to begin the process of discover. Once you have done this, if the doctor can’t find something like diabetes or another chronic or emergency issue, if your doctor doesn’t believe your pain or refuses you treatment, begin researching doctors in your area that will believe you. And find doctors that treat fibromyalgia. Hopefully, you will have one in your area that is also in your insurance plan.

Get on a forum and get advice from Peers who have been there, done that. Seek support for your changing life. Treat yourself gently. You are not depressed, you do not have a psychiatric disorder (I have to put this in here, I can not state that everyone reading my blog doesn’t have a psych issue). You will get through the beginning stages, I did and so did thousands of us.

Picture yourself floating on clouds watching butterflies,

Lucinda Tart, Fibromyalgia Peer Advocate/Life Coach Advisor


3 thoughts on “Researching the Internet Today about the Outdated Opinion that Fibromyalgia “is all in your head”

  1. Gladys Salters September 29, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    Thanks you so much for your column. For years I have lived with this. My doctor never told me even though it was in my chart.he just said arthritis till I took a friend who is a nurse with me.I suffered so long with this. How do I find a doctor who can help me and not feel less than human. I’m crying while writing this. I had to find a pain specialist on my own. How many people are going through what I went through.


    • Hi Gladys,
      I am so sorry, please try not to cry. But, it’s ok if you are, I cry. I don’t know what area you live in so I can’t recommend specific doctors. Can you look into your insurance group and call around and ask if they treat fibromyalgia? I was fortunate that my doctor believed I was in bad pain right away. I went to about 12 doctors, all specialists until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Another idea is to get on forums and ask for their ideas. Are there any local support groups for this in your area? That is a great place to find a doctor who will help you. I am so very sorry, Fibromyalgia Peer survivors deal with this round and round doctor journey all too often.
      Let me know if you find a doctor.
      Breath in, Breath out. Repeat. Be positive and know that you may be in the stages of grief and that it is ok. Pain sucks! The emotions are real. Show your doctor your real pain face, don’t gussy up and play it down.
      all my best to you


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