“Many people in the general population have misperceptions about the impact fibromyalgia can have on people’s lives. This lack of understanding may lead people with fibromyalgia to delay seeking help and receiving an accurate diagnosis,” says Penney Cowan, founder and executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association and a fibromyalgia patient herself.  Cowan acknowledged that patients face challenges in having the disease as well as misconceptions that arise from both sides.  A study led by the American Chronic Pain Association and Forest Laboratories Inc. interviewed approximately 1,000 fibromyalgia patients and 1,000 adults from the general population. According to the results, 41% of the adults from the general population viewed patients with fibromyalgia as courageous, while 17% of the patients felt society saw them this way. This is an interesting result – the general public viewed the patients as more courageous than the patients felt society saw them. The study also found that 77% of fibromyalgia patients delayed seeking treatment up to three years, and that 70% of the patients believed their symptoms would ultimately go away – which led to their reluctance in seeking treatment.

According to the study, everyday activities such as doing yard work, or house cleaning were more difficult for people with symptoms of fibromyalgia. Missed work, increased sick time and missed career opportunities were also associated to the disorder. This study looked at the views of the general population regarding a disorder, and surprisingly found them to be more sympathetic to the patients then the patients thought they would be.  It would be interesting to see similar studies done regarding people with headaches, and the viewpoint of people from the general public……  Practical Pain Management    August 2012




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