Fibromyalgia: a deregulation in the brain to explain the pain

We are dedicating this Health file to chronic pain and more particularly to fibromyalgia. In this section, we decipher with specialists, what fibromyalgia is, what are the causes and triggering factors.

Definition. Fibromyalgia is “a form of diffuse chronic pain, associated with painful hypersensitivity and various disorders, without lesions or identifiable organic dysfunction” , underlines the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). Long considered a “female disease”, “psychosomatic” without any real medical basis, this pathology was recognized as a “medical entity” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992 and classified as “generalized chronic pain”. in the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Symptoms. They are different from one person to another, of random intensity depending on the person. The majority of patients report spontaneous pain – diffuse or in acute attacks – mainly musculoskeletal (muscles, tendons, joints). A persistent fatigue was reported by 75% of patients and sleep disorders 62-95% of patients. Of anxiety and depressive symptoms are expressed in 60 to 85% of fibromyalgia patients.

Impaired pain detection and control system

Nociplastic pain. The subject of much research for twenty years, fibromyalgia is today considered by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) as “a nociplastic pain, that is to say of the detection and control of pain, which could be explained by an exacerbated response of the brain to normally painless stimuli ” . According to certain hypotheses, “its triggering could be linked to autoimmunity, in other words to a deregulation of the immune system: the organism turns against itself” . For Dr Pavlos Petit, head of the cross-sectional pain unit at Saint-Vincent hospital in Lille, it is also necessary to seek “the context in which the disease is expressed”  : psychological and social factors are often associated with this pathology (bereavement, separation, sexual abuse in childhood, etc.).

“A self-administered questionnaire allows patients to quickly and easily assess whether they may be affected by the disease”

Stressful situations and lack of sleep

Fibromyalgia is “a form of diffuse chronic pain, associated with painful hypersensitivity and various disorders, without lesions or identifiable organic dysfunction” , underlines the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). Long considered a “female disease”, “psychosomatic” without any real medical basis, this pathology was recognized as a “medical entity” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992 and classified as “generalized chronic pain”. in the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Numbers

– 20 million people in France suffer from chronic pain

– 1.4 to 2.2% of the French population would be affected by a fibromyalgic syndrome after the age of thirty.

– 60% to 80% of affected patients are women.

– 50% of patients with fribromyalgia reveals or is triggered by psychological shock.

Specialized pain treatment structures

In the North , they exist at CH Cambrai, CH Douai, Center O-Lambret, Salengro, Huriez, Jeanne de Flandre, Saint-Vincent in Lille, CH Roubaix, CH Valenciennes, and Zuydcoote maritime hospital. In Pas-de Calais , they are located at the CH in Arras, at the Institut Calot in Berck-sur-Mer, at the CH in Beuvry, at the CH in Boulogne-sur-Mer, at the CH in Lens, in the CH in Bethune.

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