Fibromyalgia is not a disease

How can anybody believe that there is such a thing as Fibromyalgia when the list of possible symptoms could reach the moon and back?

I am not disputing the fact that some people feel real pain in their tissues. I am not disputing the fact that pain can interfere with sleep. I am not disputing the fact that pain can cause depression. I am not even disputing the fact that pain can make a person tired and not feel like doing anything.

Pain does that to people.

But, I don’t believe that you can bundle all those many symptoms under one umbrella as if they were due to one disease and then give it a nebulous name that simply means “pain in the tissue.”

There are many explanations for pain and labeling it may make some people feel better if they are the sort of people who like to categorise their condition. An extreme sensitivity to pain is just that. A hypersensitivity. It’s the way I am. I hear more, notice more, sense more, react faster and feel more pain than other people. If I had to describe myself, I am like a canary in a mine. In fact, when we were in a hotel in Washington D.C a few years ago I complained that I could smell gas. Nobody else could smell it until it was finally detected in the gas hob of the kitchenette which was leaking slightly.

People who know me know not to question my observations.

The whole thing can be a burden sometimes, but to call this a disease (which in my case, has happened) is to create a disease specifically to make money.

I understand fully why Pfizer has decided to create a pill called Lyrica specifically for this mysterious disease. If I were running Pfizer I would want my company to make a profit. That’s what it’s all about.

If 2 to 4 percent of adult Americans can be convinced that they must take Lyrica for the rest of their lives, that’s big profits. But first you have to convince them that they have such a disease. So you advertise on TV and have a woman saying “Today I struggled with my fibromyalgia; I had pain all over. Fibromyalgia is a real widespread pain condition.”

Pfizer is hoping that gullibility is also a widespread condition. We had “repetitive strain injury”, ADHD and ritalin at plague proportions. Every rotten kid was diagnosed as having ADHD when the problem was often a parental one. Every lousy school pupil was suffering from dyslexia. I also have a suspicion that many slow children are not autistic at all.

That’s not to say that people don’t strain muscles when they overuse them, but how is that a disease? Nor am I saying that there are not a few children who are hyperactive. What I am saying is that too often the labeling has become a cop-out, an excuse just to make everyone feel like it’s not their fault. Let’s just fill this kid up with medication and it’s ok because the doctor said so.

Have we learned nothing from the past? In the Sixties women were prescribed the contraceptive pill. That would keep the pharmaceutical companies in business for about thirty years of a woman’s life. But then what? Here was a lucrative market going to waste once menopause was reached. So then a disease called “menopause” was invented. This disease had to be managed, didn’t it? Why should a completely natural process like the cessation of ovulation become a disease?

Well, it has to be labeled thus so that hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed. That should take care of women for another few years. Well, we all know that HRT was not the panacea it promised to be.

So now we have Lyrica by Pfizer…

Lyrica has side effects which women will not enjoy- weight gain, oedema and dizziness. That should not surprise anyone because Lyrica was originally an anti-depressant.

My belief is that not everything that bothers us has to be called a disease. I am convinced that if we take the medical practitioner tour we will never get off it…alive, that is. Doctors are in business too and the last thing they would want is for everyone to be cured. Fibromyalgia specialists are just the latest group to latch on to a potential treasure trove.


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