Is Fibromyalgia Real?

This has been a question for decades: Is fibromyalgia real? For those of us that live with it each and every day, the answer is yes. Some people, usually ones that do not live with the condition, say that it is not real. There are many doctors that argue about the validity of this chronic illness. Despite research and studies, there is still a doubt that exists in the universe about the invisible illness of fibromyalgia.

Is Fibromyalgia Real? #Fibro #BeingFibroMom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © Monkey Business at

Why do physicians doubt the illness?

Fibromyalgia was only properly named in the early 1990s. Of course, it was around before then, but only during that decade was it taken seriously enough to address and study. For many years, doctors were not familiar the condition much less its symptoms, diagnosing procedure, or cause. This lack of evidence resulted in a large part of the medical community to doubt its existence.

When a patient would present a set of symptoms without a real known cause or trigger, their doctor would simply classify it as ‘fibromyalgia’.  It was the ‘catch all’ diagnosis meaning if it didn’t fit any other illness, then fibromyalgia it was. This practice became more and more popular in the medical field. This led to further doubt of its validity. Currently, it is not listed as an inclusive diagnosis.

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What was the result of mislabeling?

Because of this mislabeling of symptoms caused by a mysterious reason, many sufferers were misdiagnosed. In worse cases, the patient wasn’t treated at all and was told it was all in their head. That the symptoms could easily be remedy if the person simply ‘believed’ they were well. Even today many fibromyalgia thrivers (formerly known as fibromyalgia sufferers) are told they aren’t really sick because they’re just seeking attention or looking for reasons to be lazy. Fibromyalgia is an unbelievable diagnosis in all its respects.

So, is fibromyalgia real?

According to an article by Bruce Gillis, MD, MPH,

“an actual medical illness and those fibromyalgia patients suffer with abnormally functioning, suppressed immune systems that are unable to produce normal quantities of vital and protective proteins.”

In other words,

Yes, fibromyalgia is real!

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Hi, I’m Brandi, the writer and creator of Being Fibro Mom and My Fibro Journal. Aside from my work on Being Fibro Mom, I run a group called Fibro Parenting on Facebook. I've been writing for the Fibromyalgia Magazine since 2016 and recently became the Secretary and Fibro & Families program director for International Support Fibromyalgia Network. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

10 thoughts on “Is Fibromyalgia Real?

  • February 13, 2015 at 8:26 am

    I’m glad you’re getting the many articles you write out and now folks are getting to share their stories. It’s oh so real and with your blogging I believe many will be able to “cope” in every day life. To get a blance of what works for you and what doesn’t is one of the biggest achievements.

    • February 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Thanks, mama, for the comment and compliment! Yours and Tim’s comments and feedback mean the most to me!

  • February 18, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    My Mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia – she suffered from these symptoms for about 20 years. She was one of those people who didn’t believe that fibromyalgia existed – she felt something was being missed. She kept asking the doctors to recheck. They kept refusing – they insisted that it was Fibromyalgia. Well, in her final months of life, her symptoms got acute enough that the doctors finally investigated further – only to discover that she had a long list of *terminal* conditions that they had overlooked in their haste to diagnose fibromyalgia. I don’t know if fibromyalgia exists or not – but I DO know that a lot of serious & life threatening conditions can be missed if they are misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

    • February 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      First, I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. Second, I agree. Serious conditions can be overlooked if too quick to diagnose with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is such a multi-faceted illness and can mimic other diseases such as hypothyroidism or diabetes. I believe many people are misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia because it’s the ‘easier’ way out. I’m sorry your mom was a victim of this.

  • February 21, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Hi Brandi,
    It’s Janice from the Inspire Me Monday Linky party.
    Do people really say it’s not real? It’s an illness. That sounds like discrimination or bullying too me. Thanks for bringing this to light.

    • February 21, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Yes, unfortunately many people says it’s not real and many of those people are physicians. I hope to spread awareness through my site and social media sites.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • February 25, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Hi Brandi, you have so much info here on your site. Thanks for sharing it at Fibro Friday so we could discover your great site with so much useful fibro info. I particularly love your journal..

    • February 25, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Thank you for visiting, Lee! I was so glad to see your site! I’ve been looking for other fibro bloggers, so I’m glad to see them gathered in one spot. I look forward to your Fibro Friday linkups!

  • August 12, 2019 at 10:20 am

    It is certainly galling when people tell us that Fibromyalgia is all in the mind. Even PTSD, despite being recognised, still isn’t always being treated appropriately by those who should know better. You are a great advocate for our condition and my husband and I admire your articles and approaches.

    • August 12, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you for the kind words and support, Madeleine! You are right – certain conditions still aren’t treated correctly even though they are legitimate health conditions. We at Support Fibromyalgia Network are working to change that within our community.


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