Many people suffer from it. Despite visits to the doctor, the general condition does not seem to improve. The patients feel the same thing: a chronic muscular pain condition extended to more or less all the parts of the body and which is manifested by asthenia and a permanent tiredness with important disturbances of the sleep. Is it fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, also known as diffuse Idiopathic Polyalgia Syndrome or SPID, is a psychosomatic disease that causes widespread pain in patients: they have pain everywhere. This disease, which occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 60, but especially around the age of 45, affects 2 to 6% of the population in the industrialized countries with a clear predominance of women (80% of women).
Several causes … involved
Genetic factors can be mentioned: people who suffer from fibromyalgia often have someone in their family who has suffered the same problems. An abnormality of the central nervous system can also be suspected with a decrease in neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin in patients with the disease. There is also the possibility of a substance P metabolic disorder, which causes the transmission of nociceptive nerve impulses, which increases sensitivity to pain. Infectious factors such as hepatitis B or C virus may also be the cause of this syndrome. On the other hand, psychological problems, particularly pathological stress, anxiety and depression are also implicated. Finally,
Pain, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue
Fibromyalgia could be considered as a pain perception disorder, with a reduction in pain threshold and a lack of pain coping ability. It manifests clinically as predominantly muscular diffuse pain associated with chronic fatigue and sleep disorders. Diffuse muscular pains affect certain areas of the body that are very painful and involve a muscular contracture, starting with the neck, shoulders and then down to touch the back, chest, arms to finally reach the legs.
The patient often feels that the painful areas are swollen. Headaches and intense migraines are sometimes associated with SPID, as well as functional colopathy (constipation, abdominal pain, bloating …). Difficulties of concentration are also encountered in these patients and often a depressive and or anxious state in one third of the patients.
As for the medical diagnosis, it is done according to well established criteria, by the American College of Rheumatology elaborated in 1990. To retain the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it is necessary to gather a clinical history of muscular diffuse pain more than 3 months old as well as the The patient’s clinical examination revealed 11 painful points on the 18 characteristic points of the disease.
Warning: aggravating factors!
Trauma, stress, emotional shock, other somatic diseases (diabetes, infection …), noise, promiscuity, significant physical effort, cold, humidity, heat, some stressful conversations, lack of sleep … All this can lead to a fibromyalgia crisis.
Fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening condition, it does not cause major health problems, but it is chronic and often resistant to medical treatment. It can have family consequences at the level of the couple and the family in the form of family tensions. It can also affect the professional activity with a high rate of absenteeism and a difficulty of concentration, which is likely to reduce the yield.
Let’s avoid it!
As for prevention, it is essentially based on an examination of anxiety states, chronic or depressive, in patients with chronic diffuse pain mainly muscular. A treatment is necessary to avoid the chronicity of the pains and to prevent the installation of the vicious circle.
Treatment, a real headache
“The treatment is very difficult and poorly codified,” says the specialist. Antalgic treatments (with the 3 levels of WHO) and anti-inflammatories used alone are often ineffective alone. Antidepressants or antiepileptic drugs may be used for antalgic effects on the central nervous system. And as an antidepressant, those in the tricyclic family who are very effective against lack of sleep can reduce pain and improve quality of life. Other antidepressants are also effective, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (which, it should be remembered, appear to be involved in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia).
“Etymology buffs, the term fibromyalgia comes from the Latin” fibra “(fiber), the ancient Greek” myos “or muscle and the Greek” algos “which is pain.
One can also use anxiolytics for their effectiveness for sleep. In particular, benzodiazepines may be prescribed, but this may lead to addiction and dependence. Other treatments include muscle relaxants such as thiocholchicoside which acts on muscle contracture. Finally, hypnotics can be used for their restorative effect on sleep disorders. Special importance to psychological support for these patients by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Some doctors propose a balanced diet, the eviction of stimulants such as tobacco and alcohol and the use of homeopathy. Balneotherapy exercises as well as physiotherapy programs including aerobic exercises,