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Fibromyalgia resource providing news, Fibromyalgia treatment information, medical abstracts and a support community for those coping with Fibromyalgia.
 
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Fibromyalgia Patient FAQs


FAQ's by Fibromyalgia Patients

Is fibromyalgia hereditary?


Current research seems to indicate that some people have a genetic predisposition to fibromyalgia, although the symptoms usually do not show up until triggered by some kind of trauma - either a physical trauma like an illness or injury, or an emotional trauma that produces severe, prolonged stress.

We do know that often more than one family member has fibromyalgia, which lends credence to the idea that there is some sort of genetic link. In fact, the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, which has a pediatric pain program, says approximately 75% of children diagnosed with juvenile fibromyalgia have a family member who also has FM.

Why do some doctors say fibromyalgia is not real or that it's all in my head?


Because up until now there hasn't been a lab test that could definitively diagnose FM, some doctors refuse to believe it's a real, physical illness. Unfortunately this has happened with other diseases, too, like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's. It's sad but when doctors can't figure out what is causing someone's symptoms, too often their tendency is to attribute it to something psychological.

Should I see a specialist for my fibromyalgia?


There really is no single medical speciality that treats fibromyalgia. At first FM patients were referred to rheumatologists because fibromyalgia was thought to be a form of arthritis. However, since research has shown it to be more of a central nervous system (CNS) problem, many rheumatologists are no longer accepting FM patients. And although CNS conditions are often treated by neurologists, fibromyalgia is relatively new for that field so they are often reluctant to treat it.

How do I find a good doctor?


One of the best ways to find a good doctor for fibromyalgia is to ask another FM patient in your area. Fibromyalgia support groups can be an excellent resource for doctor referrals. If you don't know whether there are any local support groups, check with area hospitals and newspapers.

How can I tell if a new symptom is just part of my fibromyalgia?


Because fibromyalgia can have so many varied symptoms and overlapping conditions, it can be difficult to determine whether a new symptom is something serious or just another strange FM symptom. Too often patients and doctors alike have a tendency to write off a new symptom as just part of your fibromyalgia.

Are chest pains normal for fibromyalgia?


Some people with fibromyalgia do experience chest pains. However, when it comes to chest pain, it's never a good idea to just assume it's related to FM. Any new chest pain should be investigated immediately. If chest pain is not something you regularly experience with FM, then it definitely needs to be checked out. If you frequently have chest pain with your FM, any chest pain that feels new or different needs to be looked into right away.

Is fibromyalgia a degenerative disease?


The medical definition of a degenerative disease is "any disease in which deterioration of structure or function of tissue occurs." By that definition, fibromyalgia is not considered to be a degenerative disease because there is no evidence of any actual tissue deterioration.

Can I still work with fibromyalgia?


It is estimated that 60% of people with fibromyalgia work full-time jobs. While working when you have FM is not easy, it does offer some important benefits if you're able to do it. In addition to the obvious financial benefits, working can contribute to feelings of self-worth, provide opportunities for social interaction, offer intellectual challenges and even help distract your mind from your illness for periods of time as you focus on your job tasks.

If I can't work because of my fibromyalgia, can I qualify for disability?


You may qualify for disability but it's not guaranteed. Approximately 25% of people with fibromyalgia receive some type of disability benefits. There are two types of disability benefits you may be eligible to apply for: Social Security Disability Insurance and private Long-Term Disability Insurance, which may be provided through your employer. Neither process is quick or easy but if you're not able to work, it's worth the effort to apply. To improve your chances, learn all you can about disability for fibromyalgia before you first apply.
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