Here are more Fibromyalgia myths! Today, let’s bust fallacies on family, food, and your future. And, you’ll definitely want to catch up on last week’s list of myths including those on fibromyalgia cures and causes.
In the lineup this week, we’ll tackle three more pervasive myths that continue to perpetuate in the fibromyalgia and chronic illness communities. Some of these myths stem from logical sources, so they may “seem true” but that’s not the same thing as being “definitely true.”
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Is there a cure for Fibromyalgia? Check out Part 1 of this 4 part series!
Fibromyalgia Myths: Family, Food, & Future
4) Fibromyalgia is hereditary and I have to accept my symptoms as fate.
The argument here isn’t about whether or not fibromyalgia is technically hereditary. Families share genes and tend to share the propensity for similar diseases and syndromes.
But, HOW the genes are expressed is a completely unique experience for each person!
The powerful point here is regarding the second half of the statement. It’s about the revolutionary concept of epigenetics. I write on this subject often for good reason. Genetic destiny is NOT the end of the story. The environmental influences that surround us complete the picture.
These epigenetic factors have FAR more influence over your genetic expression and how you feel than any predetermined source. The power to determine how you feel is in your hands!
5) Food and diet make no difference in fibromyalgia symptoms.
This myth persists for several reasons (and not the reasons you think).
– This myth persists because it takes some detective work to determine what foods – in particular – are problematic for the individual.
– This myth persists because it takes some personal discovery (and oftentimes an outside source) to determine the results of nutritional experimentations and symptom observations.
– This myth persists because we are each different. While the main culprits of processed foods, added sugars, chemicals, etc. are problematic for this community, (and most people are severely lacking in nutrients from fresh vegetables and produce), we each have our own process to follow. We each need to find a way of eating – not a diet – that we can call our own.
– This myth persists because many of us are looking for the “perfect” diet rather than the way of eating that’s perfect for us right now. Our bodies change over time, and so will our nutritional requirements.
To start your journey to discover the way of eating that works best for you, check out this Fibromyalgia Diet article.
6) Fibromyalgia is a progressive (disease) syndrome.
This one bugs me to no end.
When we understand the root causes of chronic illness (see Myth #2), we know that multiple factors are in place before the body breaks down enough to become symptomatic. This breakdown may have a slow onset or feel instantaneous after some sort of traumatic event. But either way, some of the challenges were pre-existing.
Challenges, if not addressed, continue to cause a breakdown in the body and fuel further dysfunction. Therefore, the causes themselves add to worsened health rather than the name of the challenge (or the diagnosis).
Here’s an illustration. Let’s imagine that a 40-year-old woman has had nutritional deficiencies (eats processed foods and lacks whole, real, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods) for most of her life, and has worked in a factory where she was exposed often to paint solvents and other chemicals. She happens to take a fall while skiing and even years later, never quite regains her mobility. The injury hasn’t healed and now, in fact, she reports that everything hurts.
All things considered, she would quite possibly receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia at this point. (I’m skimming the surface here – there could be other aggravating factors as well.).
Let’s say that after her diagnosis, she makes no dietary changes, becomes even more sedentary, and now grows despondent and withdrawn. Do you think her symptoms will increase or decrease?
The progression of symptoms comes from continued unaddressed challenges. Not from the fact that her condition now bears a name. Fibromyalgia, in and of itself, does not cause increased symptoms. The underlying root causes/challenges do.
If the challenges that caused her fibromyalgia were addressed enough to maintain symptoms, there wouldn’t be a progression of symptoms unless some other challenge happened.
The point is that by understanding what causes symptoms to worsen, you’re empowered to help your body to heal.
This may feel like semantics, but it’s a very important distinction. One hurts you and the other helps you. Declaring that fibromyalgia is progressive puts the illness, disease, or syndrome in the driver’s seat — as if you have no control over what happens to you.
Understanding that a progression of symptoms comes from underlying unaddressed challenges (either not at all, or not completely) allows YOU to be in the driver’s seat.
You’re in charge of your own health. YOU get to choose which underlying challenge you’d next like to address. What healing is waiting for you ahead in your future?
Are you ready to bust some more myths? Next week, we’ll tackle more juicy misconceptions about the world of chronic illness.
Please forward these posts to friends, family, and others in the spirit of Fibromyalgia Awareness!