There are many areas in which people have achieved significant improvement in recent decades. And yet, there are things that seem to want to remain unknown to us, no matter how much research is being done. Fibromyalgia is one of those things.
When asked about fibromyalgia, most doctors would deny its existence or shrug without knowing how to explain it. The truth is that not even the leading medical scientists in the world have been able to find a true answer to the mystery of fibromyalgia.
And yet, there are millions of people in the world affected by this syndrome. For them, life simply does not have the same “taste” any longer. Some control the condition successfully, some have their periods of ascent and descent and others are bedridden, simply because the pain is too much to handle.
Why is fibromyalgia an enigma?
It has been quite some time since doctors began to recognize fibromyalgia as an autonomous syndrome. Until then, they either denied its existence (which is still “practiced” by many medical professionals) or classified it as depression (a “physical” form of depression).
Fibromyalgia is not a disease, but a syndrome: a set of symptoms that can vary a lot and that can be very different from one person to another. The most poignant and most common symptom is generalized pain, but there are many others that make it quite difficult to diagnose.
Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia that have been found in patients include: anxiety, depression, memory problems, trouble sleeping (restless legs syndrome, insomnia), irritable bowel syndrome, problems with the urinary system, fatigue, pain of head, painful menstruations, and so on. Some of the patients also experience numbness, morning stiffness and a variety of other symptoms that may be interconnected or not.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is now easier than it used to be, but the truth is that many people do not even reach the tests that could make the correct diagnosis, since the collection of the symptoms they show may fall into the description of another medical condition. It happens very often that people are wrongly diagnosed with depression, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome or even with lupus and, therefore, receive inadequate treatment for their specific condition.
The analysis of symptoms and the control of soft spots are among the first things that a doctor would do if they suspect that a patient has fibromyalgia. After analyzing the 18 sensitive points and observing that the patient shows sensitivity in at least 11 of them, the doctor can continue with other tests that confirm the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Recently, a blood test has been created (called “fm / a”). This test can indicate quite accurately whether a person has fibromyalgia or not, but the main downfall is that most patients will not have access to it because of its high price (around $ 750) and the fact that most the insurance companies will do it. Do not cover it (or at least not yet).
Therefore, leaving aside the fact that it can be very difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia, is there any other reason still considered one of the great medical enigmas of the world?
In fact, fibromyalgia is so mysterious (and not completely curable, simply manageable) because its causes are completely unknown. There are several theories that have been developed over the years, but none of them has been able to provide a complete explanation to be admitted unanimously. Some of the theories about the causes that lead to the development of fibromyalgia are:
1 – Genetics. It has been observed that fibromyalgia can work in the family and there are several scientists who hold the idea that polymorphic genes can be at the very base of fibromyalgia. However, it is worth noting that the same genes may be at the center of other similar conditions (chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, two of the commonly confused medical conditions associated with fibromyalgia).
2 – Central sensitization. According to this theory, fibromyalgia develops because the cells responsible for transmitting the sensation of pain to the brain do not function properly, which leads to patients with a lower threshold of pain in general.
3 – Sleep problems. Some scientists say that sleep problems are not a symptom, but a cause (or at least a major risk factor) for fibromyalgia. According to them, lack of sleep can cause a patient to feel pain at higher levels and may be the main cause of other symptoms typical of fibromyalgia.
4 – Stress. Lifestyle problems and many other things have been taken into consideration. Patients with fibromyalgia are also being studied from multiple points of view, but so far there is no clear answer to the big question behind this syndrome.
Fibromyalgia and why does it cause pain in the foot?
As mentioned, fibromyalgia can present many symptoms that can sometimes be as mysterious as the syndrome itself. Pain in the foot is one of these symptoms. Although it is estimated that approximately 50% of people with fibromyalgia also experience pain in the feet, there is no answer to why this happens.
Some believe that the pain standing in itself comes from fibromyalgia and that it is related to the high sensitivity of patients suffering from this medical condition. However, there are also many people who believe that pain in the foot occurs with certain comorbid conditions (some of which are, as mentioned before, also diagnostic errors). Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome: all this usually accompanies fibromyalgia (sometimes hiding it completely) and all can cause pain in the feet.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and feel pain in your feet, it is important that you try to relieve it by any means possible. Stretching, gentle massages and investing in quality orthopedic shoes can really go a long way, so do not hesitate to bring these things into your life.