The Fibromyalgia Story

Medical Authority and Women's Worlds of Pain

Kristin Barker
Book Cover

PB: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-161-7
Publication: Jun 05

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-160-0
Publication: Jun 05

Ebook: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0459-6

264 pages
6 x 9
4 tables, 2 figs., 4 halftones

The first unbiased assessment of fibromyalgia

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


More than six million Americans-most of them women-have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a disorder that produces musculo-skeletal pain and fatigue. In the absence of visible evidence, a well-understood cause, or effective treatment, many have questioned whether FMS is a "real" illness. Amidst the controversy, millions of women live with their very real symptoms. Rather than taking sides in the heated debate, Kristin Barker explains how FMS represents an awkward union between the practices of modern medicine and the complexity of women's pain. Using interviews with sufferers, Barker focuses on how the idea of FMS gives meaning and order to women beset by troubling symptoms, self-doubt, and public skepticism. This book offers a fresh look at a controversial diagnosis; Barker avoids overly simplistic explanations and empathizes with sufferers without losing sight of the social construction of disease and its relation to modern medical practice.

Table of Contents

Introduction;1 Chapter 1. The Diagnostic Making of FMS;24 Chapter 2. The Woman Problem and the Feminization of FMS;74 Chapter 3. Similar-But-Different: The FMS Illness Experience;111 Chapter 4. The Symptomatic Self and the Life World;129 Chapter 5. In Search of Meaning;152 Chapter 6. Diagnostic Transformations;180 Chapter 7. Self-Help and the Making of an FMS Illness Identity;222 Chapter 8. Ties That Bind and the Problem That Had No Name;260 Conclusion297 Appendix A. The FMS Biomedical Literature;313 Appendix B. The Interviews317

About the Author(s)

Kristin K. Barker is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Oregon State University.