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Many fibromyalgia patients are often looked at with skepticism by their doctors and even more often misdiagnosed with arthritis or even a psychological issue.

A review paper by University of Michigan Health System doctors states that fibromyalgia pain is real and that these patients should be taken seriously and the causes and treatments of the syndrome studied.

Doctors from the University of Michigan said that they have overwhelming data about fibromyalgia and the debilitating pain it causes. They reported fibromyalgia was characterized by a lower pain threshold and associated with genetic factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition.

The study authors investigated pain, genetics and brain activity and were hoping that what they had found would improve understanding and acceptance of fibromyalgia as 2 to 4% of the population is affected by it.


Interestingly mine was completely the opposite, I was diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome when I was about 11 and had a barrage of tests (this was before it was even really known by most doctors). Eventually as you say, most doctors felt it was psychological or 'for the drugs' and they ignore treatment options or give a standardised treatment that probably does nothing.

I eventually saw a very gifted man who was an expert on pain. I went to have a test to discover my pain threshold as he thought it was extremely low based on the fact I said my pain never dropped below a 6 (on the pain scale) and was usually a 10 or might be even more (such pain would be that felt by burns victims, cancer patients or well, it would be almost unbearable). He said that people usually having such pain would be crying in agony and felt I was mis-diagnosing or incorrectly guessing my pain scale because he felt I had a low threshold. The machine they tested on me used a 'lightbulb' that they place against the skin and it warms up to about a 10 from 1 on the scale. You tell them when you can feel the pain (it burns like touching a hot lightbulb). Eventually he did come to see it from my point of view and that I could withstand a 10 for extended periods without any apparent (well not overly so) discomfort.

I would definitely recommend that anyone with chronic pain sees a specialist at their hospital who can do the pain threshold test, it will help tailor your pain to the right dose of painkiller. I personally prescribe to the theory that some people have a naturally higher pain threshold, but no natural painkillers or very little in their body and so they can take the pain, but have no natural way of combating it after it reaches what would be unbearable in normal people and so are forced to take painkillers routinely (like depression is caused by Serotonin deficiency/imbalance).

I now take over 50 (yes 50) tablets (8 actual different drugs) a day, most are pain killers, or related to pain and some various other things to help correct out the side-effects of the others (stomach medication to reduce the ulceration and erosion due to the anti-inflammatories, and constipation medication to combat the long-term use of opiates).

Very few doctors would even consider prescibing such, 'harsh' treatment because of the effects it would have on your body (and there are many and varied, most of which are bad), but it helps me. I don't say it helps me back to work (my one wish); its not a miracle cure, but it helps me improve my daily life to a level where I can interact with people instead of screaming in pain all the time.