My landlady’s daughter has been diagnosed with something called fibromyalgia. The problem is, it is one of those things that have such a long list of vague symptoms that one might wonder whether it is for real at all, and if it is, whether it is not grossly overdiagnosed (rather like ADD).
Looking around on the web, I found these two interesting articles:
It seems the diagnosis is controversial in the medical community.
My landlady has now gone and taken her daughter to a chiropractor, and listening to what the guy did, it has all my red lights flickering to the point where, four years from now, they’ll be visible from Alpha Centauri. For example, here’s one of the things he did: he had her hold out her arms to the side, and then pressed down on one arm, easily pushing it down. He then placed a single sheet of paper under her foot on that side, and was suddenly unable to push down her arm anymore. He then proceeded to “readjust her muscles” by various manipulations, but cautioned that such “readjustments” need to be performed regularly (thus ensuring return visits).
Thus far, the “treatment” is working like a charm, which at least to me is evidence that there is nothing physically wrong with her; at least in this one case, the diagnosis (done by a conventional doctor) seems to be spurious. She has also visited a (western trained) physiotherapist, and her treatments consist of, among other things, massages designed to “eliminate toxin buildups in the muscles.” But apparently, the physiotherapists’ treatments don’t work as well as those of the chiropractor. Which doesn’t prevent them from now subjecting the poor girl to a whole pharmacy of various drugs and vitamin supplements.
One thing that does seem to be for real is that she has a bit of a scoliosis; I have seen her X-rays and the bend in the spine is apparent even to me. I don’t foresee that the treatments she is receiving at the moment are going to help much.
She is currently studying musical theatre, which is physically demanding and requires a great deal of dancing in various styles, but there is now talk that unfortunately, she will not be able to follow her dream of a career on the stage, because of her disease.
It’s a somewhat tragic thing, because she has already performed in professional productions, and I have noticed that whenever things become really real, her symptoms vanish like magic and she performs like a professional - in short, she is one of those people born for the stage. But that is partly the problem: her entire life is a stage to her, and I get the distinct impression that in some way, she is always performing some role. And her chosen career exacerbates it: among dancers, as with athletes, minor injuries and pain happen all the time and can then be neatly folded into her diagnosis.
Alas, both her and her mother seem to be blind to this, and I foresee yet another life of hypochondria. I have known these folks for many years, and they are like family to me. Also, I live in their garden apartment, and thus I have to deal with this thing every day. And nowadays, I constantly have to bite my tongue not to fly into a rage.
Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing a variety of opinions from our esteemed members here…