From burning pains and burning bitches to Lady Gaga. F ibromyalgia is the second most common muscle and joint disease in Sweden and makes no difference between poor or rich. According to the Fibromyalgia Association, between two and four percent of Sweden’s adult population is assumed to have the disease that mainly affects women.
Fibromyalgia is a lifelong pain syndrome characterized mainly by widespread chronic pain and abnormal fatigue. The disease can be difficult to diagnose and the dark number is believed to be large. Between 80 and 90 percent of those affected are women. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is a strong pain in different parts of the body. It is also common to suffer from symptoms such as stiff muscles, severe fatigue, numbness, dizziness, sensitivity to sound, sensitivity to sound and light, sweating, headaches and stomach upset. The intensity of the pain can vary between different days and also move between different parts of the body. It is also common for there to be an increased sensitivity to pain, an overactivity in the nervous system, which causes things such as light touch, which is not normally painful, to become painful. Fibromyalgia often means great suffering for the person affected and the disease is lifelong. Many feel that the quality of life is negatively affected to a great extent. However, it can be good to know that the disease itself is not dangerous and that fibromyalgia does not cause autoimmune or inflammatory rheumatic diseases either.
To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you need to meet the following criteria:
- General pain in both sides of the body as well as both the upper and lower body.
- The pain must have lasted at least three months.
- Pain when lightly pressing on eleven of eighteen specific points on the body.
The disease is complicated and the exact underlying causes are still not fully understood. However, research has established that it is a physical condition, so there are no underlying mental causes, which was previously incorrectly believed. Several theories about the causes of fibromyalgia have been put forward. Hypersensitivity in the body’s nervous system, imbalance in hormones and neurotransmitters, the presence of abnormally large amounts of nerve fibers, impaired circulation, disorders of the immune system and increased oxidative stress are some of the causes that can be considered to cause or aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is not uncommon for the disease to occur after prolonged, local pain. Stress, physical as well as mental trauma, infections and monotonous repeated muscle strain are also thought to contribute to triggering fibromyalgia.
Exercise and movement
In fibromyalgia, physical activity is important. The training must be adapted to the individual and recommended activities include walking, water aerobics and swimming. Physical activity can help improve sleep and help maintain muscle strength. Massage, heat and TENS can provide pain relief. The Fibromyalgia Association also recommends treatment with magnets that are believed to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve pathways, sleeping on a magnetic mattress can also improve sleep. For some, painkillers are necessary.