A Short Guide to Fibromyalgia

By Daniel J. Wallace; Janice Brock Wallace | Go to book overview

Preface
The purpose of this book is to enable you to help yourself; to make it easier to work with your doctor and other allied health professionals; to improve the way you feel; and to promote a better quality of life. To begin, there are several reasons why fibromyalgia is plagued by mis⁃ understanding:
▪ Although it is now recognized as a legitimate syndrome by the American Medical Association, American College of Rheumatol⁃ ogy, Arthritis Foundation, and American College of Physicians, as well as the World Health Organization, some doctors still ques⁃ tion its existence. This is largely a consequence of incomplete medical training that was (and often still is) primarily hospital based. Outpatient (office-based) clinical medicine training, which included fibromyalgia, was largely overlooked. Patients are rarely, if ever, hospitalized for fibromyalgia. Also, statistically validated criteria for defining fibromyalgia were not endorsed by organized medicine until 1990. Many physicians are therefore unaware that fibromyalgia has been accorded its own coding number for insur⁃ ance billing (7290).
▪ Fibromyalgia patients often have normal blood tests and imaging studies and are thought by some healthcare professionals to make up many of their symptoms. Certain doctors consider fibromyalgia patients to be hypochondriacs or seekers of medical attention for purposes of litigation or secondary gain. Fortunately, there are now reproducible tests documenting that these complaints are real and studies showing that hypochondriasis is extremely rare in fibro⁃ myalgia.
▪ Six million Americans meet the criteria for fibromyalgia. On the average, they saw an average of four doctors before they were correctly diagnosed, and many were convinced they had a 1ife⁃

-vii-

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