Comparing Fibromyalgia Perceptions

Fibromyalgia differs greatly from reality of those with symptoms

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Living with constant pain while feeling your pain is unacknowledged by society is a devastating reality for many suffering from fibromyalgia.

According to two national surveys released by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) in partnership with Forest Laboratories, Inc in March 2012, people living with fibromyalgia inaccurately perceive society's view of them.

"Don't wait to inform your doctor if you experience pain."

The surveys were designed to better understand how people with and without fibromyalgia perceive the condition and how the condition affects daily life. Through these studies, researchers hope to help bridge the perception gap and improve awareness leading to better support systems for those affected by the condition.

One survey consisted of 1,215 men and women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and the other consisted of 1,022 adults who did not have fibromyalgia.

Those living with fibromyalgia were asked 58 questions while those without were asked 37 question. Participants in both groups completed the surveys online.

Forty-one percent of the general public surveyed consider fibromyalgia patients courageous, while only 17 percent of those surveyed living with the condition believe the public feel that way.

Additionally, the surveys showed that 92 percent of the public have heard of fibromyalgia but do not necessarily understand the challenges associated with the condition such as difficulty driving, sitting for long periods, completing household chores and engaging in romantic activity.

This lack of awareness can be disappointing for a group whom 67 percent report dissatisfaction with the level at which they can carry out their daily routine.

Despite having such a high level of dissatisfaction with everyday living, more than half of those with fibromyalgia postpone seeking professional care. 77 percent wait up to three years before seeking help.

Public awareness of fibromyalgia may encourage the 12 million Americans affected by the chronic pain condition to seek care and diagnosis.

An early diagnosis is important as there are FDA-approved treatment options and an effective pain management solution is available once a diagnosis is made.

Two Takes on Fibro: Public Perceptions and Private Realities were conducted by StrategyOne and fielded by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau.

The ACPA offers support and information for people with chronic pain. Their goal is to facilitate peer support and education.

Forest Laboratories is a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company that markets Savella, a drug often used to treat fibromyalgia.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 8, 2012
Last Updated:
February 10, 2014