What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia or fibrositis is a disorder characterized by chronic widespread dull aching pain and tenderness in the muscles.
What is the incidence of Fibromyalgia?
- Fibromyalgia is common in India and more than 10 million cases of Fibromyalgia are reported per year in India.
- Females are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are males.
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
- Widespread pain
- Cognitive difficulties
- Mood issues
How is Fibromyalgia caused?
- Genetics – Any mutation in genes can make a person more susceptible to this disorder.
- Infections – It is seen that some illnesses can trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional trauma – Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by any kind of physical trauma or psychological stress.
Why the Pain?
The reason behind the dull aching pain felt in Fibromyalgia is caused due to repeated nerve stimulation which causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change leads to an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain whose function is to signal the pain. In addition to this the pain receptors located in the brain develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive to even mild pain and overreact to pain signals. It has also been seen that patients suffering from fibromyalgia have an extremely excessive amount of a particular type of nerve fiber called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts.
- Sex – Fibromyalgia is more commonly seen in women than in men.
- Family history – Individuals who have a family history of Fibromyalgia are more prone to developing this disorder than those who have a negative family history of Fibromyalgia.
- Other disorders – Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and other types of headaches, interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, temporomandibular joint disorders, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Pain and lack of sleep are some of the common complications associated with fibromyalgia. These complications can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of suffering from an often – misunderstood condition also can make you feel depressed and have health-related anxiety.
What is the treatment of Fibromyalgia?
Drug therapy suggested by a physician may include :
- Antidepressant drug – Amitriptyline ( Elavil ) is an antidepressant drug and may affect symptoms like pain, fatigue, depression and sleep disturbances.
- Anticonvulsant drug – Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs — including ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Analgesics (pain reliever) – Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol ).
- Muscle relaxants – Cyclobenzaprine ( Flexeril) can be used to provide some relief of muscle pain.
- Steroids – Prednisolone can be used to treat inflammation associated with other rheumatic conditions that have been tested in people with fibromyalgia.
Regular exercise like aerobics and other conditioning exercises help in increasing the body’s production of endorphins, natural painkillers that can also help in mood lighting.
Physical therapy can greatly help in relieving fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. Regular visits to a physical therapist can help you in relaxing tense muscles.