Fibromyalgia is not a well-understood malady, but scientists are making breakthroughs that could eventually help pin down both the causes and the cures.
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On top of other difficulties related to chronic pain, pain medication is being insanely regulated and limited for people with chronic conditions in an attempt to stop ODs and addiction. The law is attacking the group that needs pain meds the most are the ones being kept from them the most. It's a human rights issue in my opinion
Hank, I understand you are trying to raise awareness about Fibro, but putting this video on Sci Show psych you are contributing to an already stigmatized illness. Yes you talk about the non-psych elements but having one of the most influential people on the internet putting it in this category is going to cause a lot of people to just lump it in with conversion disorders, without even watching the video.
We suspect I was born with what some are calling in utero fibromyalgia, and since im young still it was such a battle to get a diagnosis. There is also a suspected genetic component of fibro since my mother also has it as well as someone else said, things such as mental health issues like depression and anxiety. My specialist has also noted many of his patients myself included often have some form of learning disability like my adhd and some are, again like myself, on the autism spectrum. I just have to say thank you for sharing this. It gets really difficult to have to constantly tell people what wrong with me why I have a cane etc and my favorite "are you sure its real". Thank you Hank and SciShow thank you ❤💙💜
Very informative... Maybe you can tackle R.S.D (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) or the umbrella term C.R.P.S. (complex regional pain disorder). There must be a better solution to opioids, electrodes implanted in the spinal column@ the base of the skull, or bathing the spinal column w/ ketamine drip......
I have a friend who has this condition. Now, my Mom did not have this condition, but when she told doctors that she was in pain, she was told that it was all in her head. It wasn't. In my Mom's case it was because she had a varicose vein going to one of her ovaries. In my friend's case, the fact that doctors thought she was imagining it resulted in a significant delay in a proper diagnosis, as it did with my Mom.
@2:52 With my friend, an increase in pain is mostly associated with changes in the weather.
Thank you for making this educational video on Fibromyalgia. A lot of people either don't know what it is or choose not to believe it. Thank you so much for giving this disorder recognition and debunking the myth that it is merely 'all in our heads'.
I survive fibro every day. Some are good days, others are not. It's more than just an increased brain reaction though. The soft tissue damages easier and takes longer to heal. Anything at all including things like breathing, reaching or being still can result in an angry muscle reaction restricting movement for days and increasing pain levels. Muscle tension is unbelievable at times. You can watch the muscle crawl and tighten during cramps and spasms. You have to keep a healthy mental perspective, but there is most definitely an increased probability for soft tissue damage on a day to day basis.
Hypersensitivity becomes an issue in other sensory perception too. My hearing is far keener than it used to be and my sense of smell has reached a level my husband lovingly calls "Spidey senses".
More research needs to be done as each person experiences different levels and types of pain and pain related restrictions.
Insomnia is another difficult side effect. It has literally been almost 20 years since I have slept more than two consecutive hours. The lack of sleep prevents important healing and muscular recovery that would normally take place during the bodies sleeping hours.
Most of all it must be said that we are not hypochondriacs, and it is not 'just in our heads'!
Therapy can help with long term coping with the pain and fatigue. Antidepressants reduce the pain and promote better sleep, which reduces symptoms. It is not, however, a mental illness as most people understand them. There are many studies that have shown that the neurotransmitters in Fibro patient's cerebral-spinal fluid are out of balance. This, paired with studies that eliminate other possible causes of the disorder, has led the current scientific consensus that the cause or at least one of the major mechanisms of the disorder is neurological. Cymbalta was developed to treat Fibro and many of the medications that are used to treat depression have been shown help. They are also medications that alter the chemical balance in the brain and can have dangerous side effects (the weirdest one I have heard of is violent sleep walking, but it wasn't that much stranger than the others). The study you talk about in the video shows that more research is needed, but at least we know where to work..
You also left out two of the major symptoms of the disorder, perhaps because not every sufferer has them: neuropathic pain, which is different than normal pain. It feels different since it includes the pins and needles sensation you get when you foot or arm "fall asleep", the sensation of insects crawling on your skin, itching, numbness, and can even cause general pain along with these other sensations manifesting in parts of the body that no longer have nerves in them, like in teeth that have had root canals and fingertips that have been cut off. That's right, itching and pins and needles in your teeth can happen. Nerve damage, such as from high blood sugar, can also cause neuropathic pain, but it is caused by damage to the cells in the nerves, which is not present in Fibro. The other is problems with the digestive tract that are similar to IBS, but are typically not caused by the same kinds of foods as IBS and can even strike when triggering foods are not eaten.
Being careful with what you eat and getting rest when you need it can help to reduce these symptoms, just like the others. Medications like Gabapentin and Lyrica can help help with the neuropathic pain and the general pain. Exercise, even something as basic as walking, when done regularly and lightly also helps all symptoms, if can exercise at all. A less common symptom is intolerance of heat, cold, or sometimes even both and some medications can make this worse.
Fibro is an Autoimmune disease! You didn’t mention that once! I’m really angry about that. People with Fibro are misunderstood enough and you have added to it. Also what your saying about pain coming from outside sources such as a poke is not true of all Fibro patients. I have a friend who it’s true for. For me the pain is always there. Exacerbated by movement. I have a very high tolerance of pain from outside such as needles, bone marrow biopsy etc. I live with horrible pain every day so I hardly notice more added pain. FYI many people with Fibro go on to develop a second autoimmune disease. For me it is Sarcoidosis.
Great video, bud. My fibromyalgia keeps me awake all night long. I typically fall asleep at 6 or 7 am each day and for years. The slightest of pokes or bumps hurts deeply and intensly for a short burst of time. I have chronic leg pain with this, so sitting, standing, lying down, and getting up and down from positions... Well, it all hurts. The last two months have been so painful in general that I feel suicidal for short amounts of times per day...its just that excruciatingly and mentally exhausting. Love to all of us
Thank you. It’s so difficult to explain my case ndition to others in a short and completely accurate way. This video is very helpful in that mission. It 8s also difficult time find a factual video about fibro when you are first diagnosed.
Y'all should do a video on EDS. Every one thinks its nothing and get no respect for a horrible problem! Invisible illnesses like fibro get so little respect and belief and its so anoyying when you have multple problems!!
I'm a little confused about the research you cited... You said they used a simulation to confirm what they were seeing in the subjects. But if the underlying causes aren't understood, how are they going to simulate the condition? I mean, if they built it on the data they collected in the study, then of course the simulation will reflect those results.
I think the over-diagnosis/mis-diagnosis by doctors and self-diagnosis by patients has led to the controversy and 'bad image'. It is unfortunate for those suffering from the condition as their difficulties are often ignored/belittled because of this.
"From where you're kneeling it must seem like an 18-carat run of bad luck.
But, truth is... the game was rigged from the start." It runs in my family, my dad was a walking source of PTSD and I got shocked into a coma with such a high voltage that it charred my skin into soot in all my joints and burst every blood vessel in my skin.
I have fibro and it was so hard to get diagnosed especially because I am only 14 so it always got put down to 'growing pains' which feels nothing like the pain I get due to fibro, however ppl still don't believe me especially teachers as they think im just using it as an excuse
The argument against fibromyalgia being real is not that it's a delusion. The pain is very clearly real and not psychosomatic in origin. The argument is that its a trashcan diagnosis, not an actual disorder. The symptoms are nonspecific, the causes unknown, and the presentation highly variable. This suggests that fibromyalgia is not a disorder because it may actually be many disorders with similar symptoms, the causes of which medicine is trying to pick apart. In the mean time, patients are given a label for a variety of reasons: doctors want to be able to prescribe something to help which they can't do without a cause, or having a label eases a patient's state of mind, or just for paperwork purposes, or other reasons. Until researchers find a pathology, fibromyalgia is not so much a diagnosis as a description. While subtle, the difference is very important in medicine.
Please follow up this video with research into CRPS/RSD. I suffer dearly from this disorder! In a nut shell, your body's central nervous system turns against you. Wearing clothes is suffering, a cat rubbing against your legs is suffering, etc...
My aunt has fibromyalgia and neuropathy plus migraines everyday. She is trying to get on ssd. Her fibromyalgia hurt thru her chest thru her arms and fingers. Has anyone had this symptom? Her migraines are everyday. Can anyone tell me what she can do?
Thank you Hank and everyone at the scishow team! I had to miss a big festival today because I was in too much pain and then to see this? I'm so emotional I'm crying! THANK YOU!!! I have shared this everywhere I could. This needs to be everywhere! Thank you so much! #dftba #nerdfighter #fibrowarrior #spoonielife #squish
My mother suffers from Fibromyalgia, it’s definitely not a delusion. It’s a disability. And even if it was a “delusion” pain is pain even if it’s not caused directly, the same way people who have lost a limb can still feel pain and sensations such as itchiness where the limb used to be. Pain isn’t always to do with nerves, it’s how your brain interprets signals it receives.
Thank you for this! Back in the day, it took me from 1979 to 1987 to get the reason for my chronic pain diagnosed. In fact, I diagnosed it first when I first read about fibromyalgia and recognized every one of my symptoms there. Asked my chiropractor, who said yes and sent me to a rheumatologist, who said yes. I had been spang on.
Eventually the condition went into apparent remission. But this video got me to thinking and suddenly a mystery illness that hit me last October, and lasted for months, made sense. The fibromyalgia had come back! Aching all over, severe weakness, debilitating fatigue... Eventually I lost so much muscle tone that I had to go into physical therapy. And yet not one doctor - nor I - ever considered FMS. I'd been in remission (at least partially) for so long it didn't even occur to me.
Your discussion of recent studies is fascinating. One doctor who failed to diagnose me told me I had hypersensitive nerves - the most sensitive he had ever tested - and would just have to live with the pain. A neurologist performing an EMG shouted at me for crying at the excruciating pain. (He also failed to diagnose.)
Now I want to know if there's a relationship between the explosive brain of fibro and exploding head syndrome!
Thanks again. Great video.
Thank you. I developed fibromyalgia after having a painful life threatening autoimmune condition ravage my body, and it took years and years trying to convince doctors that I was in pain “when I shouldn’t be, because I was fine”. This was very validating. And gave me some hope!!
Thanks for this video. But please, do a video on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome...the most painful disease known to science!!! Next month is CRPS Awareness month. I have both Fibro and CRPS..causes extreme pain. But thank you so much for making it clear that fibro isn't a delusion!
Thank you scishow psych for doing an episode. I would like to say that SOMATOSENSATION is literally how we experience every thing. Our brain is our processing center, and is how we perceive things, like touch, sight, position, pain, etc. It's literally everything. People mean it as an insult when they say it's all in your head. But they are right, because that is where our brain is. Fibromyalgia is incredibly real, and they are doing tons of studies right now. I suggest you watch a film called Unrest, that came out a short time ago, its about a persons personal journey with it.
I had depression for years before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and interestingly enough, I had a genetic test done and my brain has issues correctly producing/absorbing Seratonin, Norepinephrine and dopamine, as was mentioned. Thank you for covering this topic, and for saying there is hope and that people are actually working towards finding a cure. I developed symptoms when I was 18 (I'm 20 now) and it's hard to keep fighting everyday knowing that you will wake up in pain every morning. It's difficult to describe the level of pain people with fibro have to try to function through. I have many days where the pain is so bad I can't walk, sometimes the pain is so bad that it feels like my legs are breaking over and over again and all I can do is scream, my doctor even x-rays done to make sure they weren't actually broken. Needless to say, I needed a reminder that there is hope.
I have Autism and epilepsy and lupus and fibromyalgia, plus a lot of other diagnosis. My life kinda sucks. Chronic pain, seizures, sensory overload, cPTSD... anyway please do an unbiased video on Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as ADD/ADHD and epilepsy and Sensory Processing Disorder!🙏🏻
It's so cool that you guys did an episode on this! 20+ years of testing has yet to yield a diagnosis, but this is looking like the most likely culprit.
Unfortunately, it's bedtime, so I'll have to watch past the first 40 seconds tomorrow. XD
Sci Show and Hank - thank you very, very much. This means a lot to me. Having severe fibro for so long, this video may be even more important than you might think. I’m a long time fan of the show and I can’t tell you how well you showed this disease: the science and the optics of it. We are often treated as crazy, pathetic, hypochondriac loonies - even by doctors - to have someone I admire (well some Show I admire, filled with science goodness) is a kind of sweet vindication.
Thank you for taking it seriously and treating it with care.
I have endured many kinds of pain - burns, shocks, broken bones, awake and sensate during a surgery I was meant to be asleep in, corneal abrasion, root canal without freezing (ppl with fibro are sometimes resistant to anaesthesia), and even cluster migraines and I must say - besides the surgery bit and cluster migraines that last a good day - fibro wears me down the most as it is constant and will never stop. Broken bones heal, burns scar, and luckily my eye is fine now (all my injuries hurt since I get them, at least once in a while) but fibro is all day every day and every night you lay trying your best to meditate into sleep beyond the pain. You adapt in little ways, finding coping mechanisms and plans to stay calm, but fibro never really listens. I am not asking for sympathy (most people that is their first reaction, which isn’t a bad thing - it is kindness) just wanted to say my reasons for finding this video good and important.
So many people think it is “all in your head” or that we must be exaggerating. I have lost support group members to the disease because some people cannot love with the pain, especially if they don’t have a proper support system - and therein is the big issue of optics. Fibro is real and it’s nasty and it takes over everyone’s lives around it - to have people denying our suffering takes away support systems like friends and family that need to be told by the big important voices that it is real. I have lost many friends due to the disease.. it is too much for them or they don’t believe in it being real - “you have to be delusional - it can’t be that bad - you wouldn’t be able to survive it” - it is real and people CAN live meaningful lives with it - if they have support and if they are believed - life can get even better.
To those new to a fibro diagnosis: it isn’t the end. You can be happy, you can prevail, you can make a life for yourself. After decades of living with it, I have learned the best things to do are meditation, walks when you can (even if it is two minutes or even thirty seconds, build up at your pace), treat yourself, and research the drugs doctors want to put you on. One sentence at a time. And for sleep - you will find what works for you - if not at first, you will. Maybe what works one week won’t work every week or even night - but keep at it. Keep a routine before bed. Don’t overdo exercise, moderation and carefulness go a long way. Don’t hate the pain, struggling only makes it worse. Accept it and work around it. Teach those around you what triggers you, how to gently hug you, how to help you. And most importantly - even if it is childish or silly - do things every day that make you happy like playing games (I am partial to video games when I can) - watching cartoons or soap operas - or even taking time to listen to music laying down in bed and thinking of your happy place.. do what makes you happy as often as you can.
Much love and support is out there.
Patients with fibromyalgia have frequently come to me relating how other doctors have told them their pain was “all in their head”, to which I reply, of course it is. That is where all pain is. Only your brain can feel pain.
The distinction between “psychological” pain and “real” pain is a gross misconception. All pain is bio. All pain is psycho. In all likelihood, all pain is social. These categories are only important to the extent that they help us understand, prevent, or treat pain. Dismissal is neither understanding or treatment. It is merely laziness.
In my case, it was a genetically overworking immune system (my grandma, aunt and mother all had/have autoimmune disorders), triggered by Lyme's, which led to an idiomatic arthritis, which led to the fibro. I have another autoimmune disorder, too. I can blow through a cold in four days but I also wind up with pain from simple activities and I get tired far more easily than a woman in her early thirties should.
Fibro is real, what ever the source, and it is hell to live with. After two very painful surgery recoveries and developing osteoarthritis, my wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
It has altered her in big ways. She is a high function intellect and worked in the academic world.
Now she has serious problems with memory and concentration and almost any exertion tires her out for hours. I would not be surprised to find that there are some psychological aspects, but that is not the sole cause.
The two women that I know who have been diagnosed with fribo, developed the problems after major surgeries with long painful recovery times. Both were very active high energy types before developing fibro.
My wife never mentions it to anyone but her doctors, because of the foolish large mouthed people who believe they know something that they do not and can not know.
If that last sentence insulted you. You might want to rethink your position and be a bit more careful about writing people off, without knowing what they are dealing with. It is very real and there are no simple solutions. Do not allow your ignorance of the problem and your own pettiness to make even more problems for the sufferer. It is a very difficult thing to live with.
Please post it to the main SciShow channel and add in information that you forgot to include! (such as that about 80% of the sufferers are female, that the studies are way under-funded and that there's been successful results from researchers developing a blood test that identifies FMS separately from illnesses like Lupus and Arthritis!
Also that other big symptoms are chronic fatigue and IBS, and that there's a strong connection between FMS and small fiber neuropathy. This should've been included!
This seems similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Not the pain, but how it comes about and can be treated (almost not at all). In IBS the gut becomes hyper sensitive. There is no known reason for it to appear. Sometimes infections can trigger it, sometimes an injury will, for many it just appears. It was for a long time considered a psycological condition as well. The fact is that the symptoms are real, not just in the head. It also seems there's something not right with how serotonin works in the gut.
Fibro is definitely real. I used to have it. It came very suddenly one day while I was at work and got worse from there. Literally one day I was a normal healthy 20-something year old, next I started having extreme exhaustion, pain, and a general inability to function. I also suffered abuse and vile treatment from medical professionals. They snidely called it "Whiny White Woman's Disease."
I had it for about five years and then as suddenly as it came, it went into remission. That was almost 20 years ago now and I live in fear someday it's going to start up again. I am actually disabled and was forced to medically retire onto SSDI due to injuries from an accident I suffered about 6 years ago, and I live in chronic pain from that, but the pain I deal from that accident is a cakewalk compared to fibro pain.
Hey SciShow! It would mean a lot to me and the rest of the POTS community if you were to make a video about Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (a form of Dysautonomia). This month is Dysautonomia Awareness Month too 💕💕
depending on the type/severity of my pain it can work wonders. I use tinctures and they can really help, though when my pain is a 9 or above on the pain scale no amount of marijuana can help it (though not much can at that point anyway).
Yes and no. It depends on the strain (check leafly) and your tolerance. When I started smoking, I felt great for a few hours, but at this point my tolerance is so high that it barely takes the edge off for a half hour. Unfortunately I don't have access to anything stronger like distillates, which may still do the trick.
There is no specific definition given for the condition given. The research given is sparse using very weak studies from a discipline not equipped to diagnose or treat it. Fibromaylgia is also outside the realm and scope of psychology in its effective management. They took the complete wrong approach and we would have been better off without this video as it is wrong and spreads misinformation
My ex had fibro and my heart broke whenever she was in pain,and the worst part was that the doctors that were in charge of helping her were denying she has fibro even tho she was diagnosed with fibro from a different doctor
Great video! Could you do one on more general chronic pain? Mine started as back problems and has become chronic in the uphill battle to be taken seriously and receive treatment. I think it's also important to address how quick many - doctors included - are to dismiss women seeking treatment for pain. This video is an excellent start. I would love to see more.
Antidepressants are medications that can help relieve symptoms of depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and dysthymia, or mild chronic depression, as well as other conditions.
They aim to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to be responsible for changes in mood and behavior.
Depression Medications (Antidepressants)
These are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat major depression, mood disorders, and possibly but less commonly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, menopausal symptoms, fibromyalgia, and chronic neuropathic pain.
SNRIs raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters in the brain that play a key role in stabilizing mood.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They are effective in treating depression, and they have fewer side effects than the other antidepressants.
SSRIs block the reuptake, or absorption, of serotonin in the brain. This makes it easier for the brain cells to receive and send messages, resulting in better and more stable moods.
They are called "selective" because they mainly seem to affect serotonin, and not the other neurotransmitters.