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Complexities and associations of Fibromyalgia

Verified By Apollo General Physician October 22, 2020 4676 0

Medical science has come far in recent years in achieving various cures for diseases. However , there are some conditions for which researchers are not able to find a correlation between a disease and human physiology with a complete cure, and Fibromyalgia is one of them. A disease like Fibromyalgia mostly affects the musculoskeletal (a support system comprising skeleton, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and other connective tissues) and nervous systems of the body, causing various symptoms and presentations. Women are more prone to develop fibromyalgia compared are men. Majority of people who have had fibromyalgia also have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, tension headaches, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medicines can help in controlling the symptoms. Relaxation, stress-reduction measures and exercise also may help.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease syndrome that involves the musculoskeletal and nervous systems , characterized by severe painful sensation and mental distress. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia may mimic the symptoms of arthritis but do not involve joint erosions or damage. According to NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease), Fibromyalgia affects people above 18 years of age and is more common in women compared to men.

What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

The symptoms of Fibromyalgia include muscular pain and fatigue, which are often misdiagnosed or confused with other disorders such as Rheumatoid arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis, but the pains are usually in soft tissues and not in the joints. Other symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:

● Severe pain and tenderness all over the body

● Fatigue

● Impairment in memory and decreased concentration (fibro fog)

● Severe Anxiety

● Depression

● Difficulty Sleeping

● Numbness and tingling sensation on fingertips, feet, arms, etc.


IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)

● Painful menstruation or abdominal cramps

● Difficulty urinating

● Vision problems

● Nausea/vomiting

● Muscular tender points and twitches

What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

The etiology of Fibromyalgia is still unknown. However, researchers believe that the brain and spinal cord of an individual are unable to process the pain signals coming from various distant nerves of the body. The other reasons for Fibromyalgia are mentioned below:

● Environmental factors

● Genetic factors or positive family history for Fibromyalgia

● Chronic depression

● Brain abnormalities

● Excessive stress or mental trauma

● Hormonal or neurological imbalance


● Excessive intake of coffee, alcohol, or tobacco

● Vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia, etc

What are the types of Fibromyalgia Pain?

The characteristics features of Fibromyalgia is Pain, which includes:

● Myofascial Pain (Widespread muscle pain)

● Central Sensitization ( anxiety and poor sleep)

● Neuropathic pain (tingling, numbness, burning sensation, etc.)

● Allodynia (pain on mild pressure)

● Pelvic Pain


What are the complications of Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia in an individual can cause pain all over the body, discomfort, disability, and lowers the quality of life. The complications of Fibromyalgia are mentioned below:

People with Fibromyalgia may experience

● A lower quality of life.

● Increased hospital visits and admission

● Chronic depression

● Self-inflicted injuries and suicidal tendencies

● The occurrence of other Rheumatic conditions such as Osteoarthritis (a form of arthritis), systemic lupus (an autoimmune disease), Ankylosing Spondylitis (an inflammatory disease that fuses small bones in your spine over time), bursitis (a painful joint condition), etc.

What are the risk factors for Fibromyalgia?

The risks Factors for Fibromyalgia includes:

● Age: Fibromyalgia can affect all age groups, from children to adults. It is more common in women and is often diagnosed later in life.

● Lupus/Arthritis: A positive history of Lupus and arthritis has been associated with the development of Fibromyalgia.

● Stressful or Traumatic Events: Car accidents, PTSD, etc

● Injuries (repetitive)

● Significant family history for Fibromyalgia

● Obesity

When should you visit your doctor for Fibromyalgia?

You should immediately fix an appointment with your physician/doctor if you are facing some of the following symptoms:

● Severe pain throughout the body

● Trouble sleeping

● Chronic depression

● Any history of mental trauma

● Significant family history for Fibromyalgia

● Obesity

● Sensitivity to cold and heat

● History of Arthritis or Lupus

● Severe joint pain

● Joint stiffness

● Numbness and tingling of hands or feet

There are no specific investigations to diagnose Fibromyalgia; your doctor will take a complete history of the patient, including past history, perform physical examinations, perform imaging tests such as X-rays and ask for blood tests to rule out systemic causes.

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What are the preventive methods for Fibromyalgia?

There are no specific ways to prevent Fibromyalgia. However, there are some measures available that you can take or develop to reduce its symptoms:

● Maintain a balanced diet

● Exercise regularly

● Get Adequate rest and sleep

● Decrease unnecessary stress

● Practise Yoga and meditation

● Avoid food containing MSG ( Monosodium Glutamate), caffeine, gluten, etc.

What are the treatment options available for Fibromyalgia?

There is no complete cure for Fibromyalgia. A patient will need various treatment options for their symptoms as they are difficult to manage. Treatment options for Fibromyalgia include:

● Regular exercise and physical activities: It is advised for people with Fibromyalgia to have regular aerobic exercise and resistance training to get relief from pain, decrease tenderness from pressure points, and improve sleep.

● Acupuncture: Acupuncture is one of the oldest techniques to help an individual get relief from pain and help in improving the quality of life. The number of sessions for Acupuncture depends on the severity of the disease.

● Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy has shown to provide a lot of improvement in patients with Fibromyalgia. A regular physiotherapy session from a trained therapist helps to relieve the pain from multiple body parts and reduce pain and tenderness.

● Behavioral Therapies: It is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that reduces mental stress, mental trauma and heals an individual with positive behavior. It also includes relaxation therapies.

● Medication: Along with the therapies mentioned above, your doctor will also provide you with some medicines to improve your symptoms. The medication includes 1.NSAID ( Non-steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs), 2.Antidepressant such as duloxetine, Cymbalta, etc.

● Antiepileptic drugs such as Gabapentin, Pregabalin, etc


Fibromyalgia can mimic various other conditions and can lead to a faulty diagnosis, so it is always advised to get yourself a regular and timely check-up from a healthcare professional for early diagnosis. Fibromyalgia can give rise to severe pain and headaches. It is always advised to do regular exercises, maintain a healthy diet, reduce stress levels, etc. to reduce its signs and symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can one get Fibromyalgia?

Ans. One can get affected by Fibromyalgia if they have a positive family history for Fibromyalgia, is obese, has excessive stress, or have suffered any mental trauma. Some possible triggers may worsen the condition, such as stress , viral infection, injury, etc.

2. What does Fibromyalgia pain feel like?

Ans. An individual with Fibromyalgia will complain of severe pain throughout the body, especially over the sites such as hips, thighs, lower back, neck, etc. The patient may find difficulties in falling asleep due to severe pain and tenderness.

3. Is Fibromyalgia a serious condition?

Ans. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease syndrome that affects an individual for their lifetime. The condition doesn’t worsen with time, and it is not a progressive disease. It does not cause any damages to muscles, soft tissue, joints, nerves, etc.

4. What can be mistaken for Fibromyalgia?

Ans. Fibromyalgia can mimic several Rheumatic conditions such as Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, bursitis, Lyme disease, etc. All these diseases have some positive findings in their investigation tests, which make them differ from Fibromyalgia.

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