What is Fibromyalgia? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By | 25/02/2018

Fibromyalgia refers to a condition that causes widespread pain and fatigue.

Fibromyalgia or FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) is a chronic condition that affects the muscles and tissues of the body causing widespread pain throughout the body.

The effect is not just pain; such discomfort gets heightened by pressure and causes further problems like irritable bowel syndrome, bladder abnormalities, and cognitive dysfunction.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle aches and fatigue (tiredness). People with fibromyalgia have pain and tenderness throughout the body.

People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty to sleep
  • Stiffness in the morning
  • Headaches
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Feeling of concrete and numbness in hands and feet
  • Lack of memory or problems concentrating (these memory lapses are sometimes called “brain fog”).

You may have two or more chronic pain conditions at the same time. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. Experts are still unsure if these disorders have a common cause.

Patients suffering from this syndrome may have some particular points in the body that pains and hurt unbearably, known as trigger points.

The muscles in these areas feel twitched, fatigued, overworked, tightened and painful.

The pain may worsen from spasming to dabbing pain in joints, legs, hands, shoulders and other trigger points.

Fibromyalgia is known to affect a relatively less number of total population where the female is more dominating affected by it than male.

The word fibromyalgia (FM) means pain in the muscles and the fibrous tissue (ligaments and tendons).

Something usual to Fibromyalgia is the generalized musculoskeletal pain and painful pressure sensation at specific points (painful points). This pain resembles that of the joints but is not a joint disease.

In general terms, we can say that fibromyalgia consists of an abnormality in the perception of pain so that people feel it more intensely; stimuli that usually are not.

In addition to the pain, fibromyalgia can cause generalized stiffness, especially when getting up in the morning, and feeling of severe and delimited inflammation in hands and feet. Undefined tingling can also be noted, affecting mainly the hands.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder related to chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems, and mood swings.

Experts think this condition affects approximately 4% of the United States population and it occurs more often in women than in men.

The average age at which symptoms begin to manifest is between 30 and 50 years of age. Fibromyalgia is not a disease, but a constellation of symptoms that can be controlled.

Fortunately, fibromyalgia poses no risk to the patient’s life and causes no muscle or joint damage.

It may occur on its own or may also appear in people with various forms of arthritis or related diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Symptoms

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is the chronic, and heightened muscle spasm with the widespread pain felt throughout the body. The other symptoms include:

  • Muscle tightening
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of energy
  • Decreased concentration
  • Constipation
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sensitivity to specific elements such as light, odor, and others

Pain a the head, especially those caused by tension and migraines, are typical in people with fibromyalgia.

Similarly, fibromyalgia is related to pain in the muscles of the jaw and face (temporomandibular joint disease or TMJ syndrome) or myofascial (skeletal muscle) pain in a single part of the body.

In these cases, several medical experts consider fibromyalgia as regional, localized or incomplete.

Stomach pain, abdominal bloating or bloating, and constipation with diarrhea (called irritable bowel syndrome) are also prevalent symptoms.

Irritability and spasms of the bladder may cause the affected person to urinate more frequently or feel the urge to urinate.

The patient may also experience acute pelvic pain. Some of the problems that can be related to fibromyalgia include dizziness, restless legs, endometriosis, tingling and numbness of the hands and feet.

Causes

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, many researchers have made hypotheses about possible explanations regarding the underlying cause of the disorder. They include:

  • Lack of Sleep: Deprivation or improper pattern of sleep may lead to such a disease
  • Genetic factor: Certain genetic and hereditary factors also play a crucial role in causing fibromyalgia
  • Psychological factors: One of the significant factors that determine FMS is depression. It is, in fact, the cause of many other problems.
  • Lifestyle: A stressful lifestyle might contribute to this disorder. Besides stress, anxiety, tension, obesity, smoking, and pressure from relationships may also lead to it.

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Some experts link several factors to this disorder. Fibromyalgia might be related to:

  • Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
  • Recurring Injury
  • Discomforts or ailments

Fibromyalgia can also occur on its own. Some scientists believe that the origin of fibromyalgia may be genetic.

Genes can cause a person to have a strong pain reaction to things that other people do not consider painful.

Who has fibromyalgia?

Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million people 18 years of age or older in the United States.

Between 80 and 90 percent of the people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. However, men and boys may also have the disorder. Most cases people diagnosed are at a mature age.

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more frequently in individuals with specific diseases. These illnesses include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).

Women who have a relative with fibromyalgia are more likely to have this condition as well.

Treatment

There is no such specific treatment or cure for fibromyalgia. However, proper management is the key to treat such a disorder.

Medication, physical therapies, antidepressant, stress management, adequate sleep, opioids, and lifestyle are fewer of the techniques that can help to manage the pain efficiently.

Fibromyalgia can be pretty hard to treat. It is vital that you get a doctor who is familiar with this disorder and its treatment.

Many GPs, general internists or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in arthritis and other conditions that affect joints or soft tissues.

Treatment for fibromyalgia sometimes requires that you work as a team. This includes your doctor, a physiotherapist, and possibly other healthcare providers.

A pain clinic or rheumatology clinic can be an excellent place to get treatment.

What can you do to try to feel better?

There are many things you can do to improve yourself, including:

  • Take the medicines as they were prescribed
  • Get enough sleep
  • Workout
  • Eat well

Make the necessary changes at work.