If you’re reading this, you probably are well aware of all the nasty little challenges fibromyalgia can bring, such as widespread pain, especially in the neck and back, digestive issues that resemble Irritable Bowel Syndrome, sleep disturbances and pervasive fatigue.
If your journey is like mine, you visited several physicians and alternative health practitioners (like chiropractors and acupuncturists) in a mad search for some relief. Most of us frantically search for a diagnosis so that we can define whatever the problem is and meet it head-on.
That diagnosis took me more than a decade to get. And now, there is a growing concern that many diagnoses of fibromyalgia may be incorrect.
Recently, I listened in on Dr. David Brady’s online series of webinars. Dr. Brady is a naturopathic medical doctor who specializes in fibromyalgia and has just written a book called The Fibro Fix. In his webinar series, he interviewed about 30 experts on various aspects of fibromyalgia. Something of interest that surfaced is the idea that what many of us have been calling fibromyalgia may not be classic fibromyalgia at all.
Traditional symptoms of fibro are so extensive that they are shared by many ailments. Of course, the problem then lies in the fact that you do not want to be treating fibromyalgia if in fact, you have some other underlying condition.
According to Dr. Brady, there are three main health issues that tend to masquerade as fibromyalgia, leading to incorrect diagnosis and treatment. These are:
- Myofascial Syndrome
This is when there is a problem with your musculoskeletal system that leads to pain.
- Mitochondrial Malfunction
Your mitochondria are the powerhouses inside your cells that produce energy. If something is awry with how these mitochondria are functioning, the symptoms look a lot like fibro, fatigue being most prevalent.
- Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism
An underperforming thyroid is quite common in women and often goes undiagnosed, leading to pain, weight gain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and IBS symptoms. Sound familiar?
So what does this mean for those of us fighting fibro? First, find a very knowledgeable doctor, or health care practitioner, that specializes in helping people who have your symptoms. I have found that conventional mainstream physicians are typically not up to this task.
It’s not that they don’t want to help; it’s just the medical school training that conventional doctors get generally centers around finding a “pill for every ill” rather than a root cause of your problems. And each medication comes with a list of side effects.
You want a healthcare team that uses traditional and natural methods to get to the bottom of your issues so they can diagnose and treat you most efficiently. I coach fibro clients who favor this approach. Naturopathic doctors or integrative docs and holistic health coaches like myself are better attuned to using more than just pharmaceuticals to cure.
If you feel that your fibro diagnosis was made in haste, or if you have self-diagnosed on your own, I urge you to get more information from reputable fibromyalgia specialists. Also, it is entirely possible to have more than one situation happening at the same time. I battle low thyroid in addition to my fibro, for instance.
How did you come upon your fibro diagnosis? Do you feel it is valid? What steps will you take now that you know fibro is often misdiagnosed? Please leave a comment below.