Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Should I give him the boot?

I have had great medical doctors who have diagnosed & have been treating my FMS for 25 years. Included in my health care team is my therapist & unfortunately I am having trouble with him now. He started saying in this past year that ALL of my physical health conditions are the result of a few years of abuse over 30 years ago. I have disagreed with him on this many times, but he keeps his own opinion. It doesn't seem to matter to him that I had some of these health conditions prior to the abuse, or that I was in an accident which left me with chronic back & neck pain & periodic paralysis, or that I have successfully overcome the abuse years ago.

I know of a few people who have FMS & had a very traumatic past, but I also know of some who have FMS & haven't had a traumatic past. I'm ready to give my therapist a kick in his pants. I've always said I would never stay with a doctor who said it was all in my head. I guess it's about time to leave this one. With what I have learned about FMS & with new info being released now, like FMS being a neuro-immune disorder & other things, I just don't understand why some in the health field refuse to accept FMS as a disease in itself, that it isn't a psychological disorder.

So, I would like to know about some of you out there - Have any of you had trauma in your life along with FMS? Are any of you fighting therapists who insist your health is due to traumatic events?

16 Replies

Hippocratic Oath, Modern Version

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

Remembering what was originally signed up for by your doctor would answer the conundrum.


Hi sbncmo

I will give you my honest opinion ''without'' my FibroAction hat on, and that is I would never return to see this person again.

All my hopes and dreams for you



If you are not happy with your treatment decline the opportunity to see the therapist can you complain to his superior

Best Wishes


Hi There

I just read a very interesting book from the library by an American neurologist called Gary Kaplan entitled 'Total Recover: Solving the Mystery of Chronic Pain and Depression' which might just help - it certainly gave me something to think about.

I have fibro and ME and have had my share of life traumas which I do believe contributed to my illnesses. Are they the only cause? No! Will a spot of CBT make it all better? I wish....

The interesting thing about the book is that is gives evidence that there are cells in our brains called microglial cells that simplistically have an on/off switch. If switched on, they go out there looking for bugs or trauma to fix and in so doing cause inflammation in the brain and CNS - that's all they can do. However, it would seem that the microglial cells get switched on by infections, or a physical trauma - like after a car accident or - and this is the part I found very interesting - intense emotional stress. Of course the cells are supposed to switch off again after the trauma/ infection etc have passed, but this book says that sometimes in some people after several or many traumas the cells get stuck in the 'on' position and you become locked into chronic pain. The book describes ways of getting them to switch off again. It would seem that you could be genetically more susceptible to them being stuck in the 'on' position, and maybe that's why fibro can run in families.

So if you believe Dr Kaplan's theory, childhood abuse could have contributed to an overall microglial cell burden and push over a threshold into chronic pain.

I know how angry you must feel with your therapist though. When people tell me (as they frequently do) that my ME/ fibro are due to emotional stress / faulty thinking and will all be fixed by a spot of CBT and regular trips to the gym (!) I could just scream (if I had the energy).

So the question is, does your therapist think that the abuse is part of the cause of your pain as per the Dr Kaplan model, or is he of the 'it's all in your head dear' model? If it's the latter, I don't think the relationship will be beneficial to you going forward.

Good luck in your journey.


Just want to jump in about CBT, in the case of Fibro or any physical illness it should only be used to help us gain acceptance of illness, like you it also makes me cross if anyone implies this is all in our heads. Lou x


Hi sickandtiredgirl. I just reread your reply again. I should have replied long ago. Sorry that I didn't.

I find the info you gave about the microglial cells getting stuck in the "on" position very interesting & very logical. I have learned about other cells that affect other body mechanisms & functions that do the same thing. The body is truly amazing!

In the past 10 months I have been learning a lot more about myself. When my mother was pregnant with me, in her 7th month I stopped moving & the doctors could find no heart beat for 2 weeks. The day she was to go in for a D&C, I started moving again. Saved my life - literally! When I was born I was blue & the doctors had to do a lot to keep me alive. For my first 8 months I would go into some sort of seizure, I would scream non-stop & my mother would have to finally lay me in my bed & walk out of the house for a few minutes. She said I would look at her like I hated her, but of course that wasn't possible for an infant to feel that way. She never abused me. She always loved on me & cared for me the best she could. When I was 10 months old, I hit the dashboard of the car when my dad had to hit the brakes to keep from being hit by another car. (In 1965 car seats weren't available) Up until I was 4 years old, I had Gran Mal seizures, going rigid, stopped breathing, turn blue, collapse on the floor, defecate & urinate on myself, etc. I also started developing signs of bipolar as a toddler, but at that time there wasn't much knowledge about child mental health disorders. Quite a lot for a preschooler to go thru, right?

I finally "got tough" with my therapist, told him to quit holding onto a few years as the cause of all my health problems, that those few years don't bother me. For now, we have a better understanding. But I swear if he ever goes back to that garbage of saying all of my health problems are because of a few bad years, he is gone.

Perhaps those microglial cells got turned on when I was born. Who knows? It would make sense. Whatever the case, I don't let anyone tell me my health problems are in my head, because they aren't. With knowledge comes power. I have more knowledge now & it has given me the power to stand up for myself better.

Thanks again for the insight & the encouragement!


It looks like your relationship has broken down. So even though the change can be traumatic itself your description says yes. Consider carefully and I hope you have a good outcome.


Hello, my doctor back home insisted it was all in my head,why? Because that way they don't have to give you treatment.You refuse their opinion,therefore the anti-depressants that come with it and you end up in a vicious circle.

One thing also,never take anti-depressants for the pain because if one day you need a mortgage,you have to fill up the medical questionnaire,depression is an absolute NO for the banks.

I changed doctor, I am much better now.


Hi I was having counciling through occupational health due to the result of being assaulted physically several times at work. I was asked if I had been sexually abused as a child, I wasn't but I don't think she believed me, she said I was the only person she had met with fibro who had not been sexually abused as a child. I think fibro is such a complex illness that it's easier for some people to just give it the " all in your head" label than to be bothered looking properly at it. It seems that lots of research is being done into fibro at the moment so hopefully one day these people will have to eat their words. If I were you I would not bother seeing the therapist again. Take care. X


As you feel so uncomfortable with this therapist just give him the boot. You don't have to put up with his opinions which are so blinkered and lacking in a real understanding of our illness.

I wish you all the best. Let's us know how you get on.

Kind regards


I believe that fma has a trigger, for me it was a major car accident. The infuriating part is when a doctor ignoring the mri scan results showing permanent spinal damage and only saw the words fma and decided my pain was all in my head. Yes I had a traumatic child hood, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor. As you are and someone wanting to pat you on the head and 'fix' you must make you hoping mad. So yes, sack him. Write and say I am sacking you for your blinkered attitude. I am telling you this in the hope that it may make you remember that you are not god and do not have all the answers and hope it will also remind you that the highest part of therapy is to listen to what is said rather than what you would like to hear being said.

then I'd send it to him recorded delivery and find a different therapist. Good luck and yes, please do let us know how you get on x


Fibro can indeed be triggered by trauma, childbirth, surgery, accident to name a few. It can appear out of the blue too. The important thing is to deal with what you have. Exercise, massage and more. Whatever works for you. It looks to me as though you had it already and it might have been made worse by incidents. But then I'm not a medic, just an angry Badger :)


I know a rheumatologist who believes the same. I think there may be an element of emotional stress but it is not always going to be due to sexual abuse and there are other known physical triggers. Hope you can make the right decision for you.


Just lift your good leg and kick this person into touch,some doctors want to understand your condition and others are soo rude,just stand tall and walk away,find another doctor with a bit more understanding,I've been really lucky my doctor is brill,good luck xxx


Hi im sorry to hear your having problems with your doctor, its hard

enough coping with daily life you don't need doctors adding to your

problems, I would find another

And no I have not had any traumatic events to cause my fibro, simply

years of a back problem is thought to be what started mine.


Sorry I haven't replied sooner, everyone. I try to keep myself busy & sometimes I don't get on my computer for 1-2 weeks.

Thank you, all of you, for your advice & encouragement. I have made the decision to give my therapist the boot. He did get me through some difficult times, for which I am thankful, but since he isn't helping me any longer there is no need to stay with him.

I'm continuing to learn more about the health conditions I deal with & keep as active as I can. I'm so glad more is being learned about FMS & hopefully the attitudes we come across in the medical field will soon be a thing of the past.

Best wishes to all.


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