Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is there a link between obesity & fibromyalgia?

In 2009 and 2010, researchers published the findings of three studies performed at the University of Utah and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology that found a link between obesity and fibromyalgia. As someone recovering from obesity and suffering from fibromyalgia, I’m glad when data comes to light that might help explain, treat, or prevent these conditions. A link that might reveal a common cause sounded promising to me.

The public in general and FM sufferers in particular heard something else in those reports, thanks to eager journalists who jumped on the studies’ findings and mined them for their shiniest nuggets. The studies included mostly female subjects, so a distorted message was broadcast: FM is a fat woman’s disease, and if those lazy gals would just exert enough willpower to diet, exercise, and lose weight, their FM symptoms would lessen or even disappear.

I recently wrote an article about the obesity-fibro link for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE magazine. In researching the article, I learned a lot about the possible causes of both obesity and fibromyalgia, things I’d never heard before at all. Sufferers of both obesity and/or fibromyalgia often hear that their problem is all in their minds, but it turns out there’s a whole lot more going on than the patient’s conscious behavior…that the problem is caused or at least affected by biological and other factors over which we have no conscious control. If you’d like to read more about it, go to and click on the image of the magazine cover on the left side of the page (it’s a woman wearing a red jacket, holding a globe).