Can Fibromyalgia Cause Chest Pain?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful condition which causes pain in the bones and muscles, generalized tenderness, cognitive problems, sleep disturbances, and an overall sense of malaise. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known but experts feel some problem with how the brain and the spinal cord processes pain signals from the nerves may be a potential cause.[1,3]

Fibromyalgia is seen more in females. It is more likely to develop in people with already an existing painful condition like arthritis. People with mood disorder like PTSD, anxiety and depression are also vulnerable to get fibromyalgia. The symptoms of fibromyalgia mimic that of various other conditions and as such this condition is hard to diagnose. This is the reason why an accurate diagnosis is necessary.[1,3]

The pain symptoms worsen with any sort of activity and even deep breathing. Rest decreases the symptoms.[1,3] The article highlights whether fibromyalgia causes chest pain and if yes then how to manage the pain symptoms.

Can Fibromyalgia Cause Chest Pain?

The answer to this question is yes Fibromyalgia can cause chest pain. This happens when the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the chest area get affected by fibromyalgia. The condition causes inflammation of the cartilage that connects the sternum to the ribs. This causes a medical condition called costochondritis. This condition causes pain in the chest which worsens with movement, activity, and deep breathing and gets better with rest.[2]

As stated, the reasons behind fibromyalgia is not yet known but there are some triggering factors that can activate the symptoms of fibromyalgia including chest pains.

These include any preceding infection or other medical condition, stress or grief, and injury. A change in the levels of some neurotransmitters that carry pain signals to and from the brain also can trigger off a fibromyalgia event.[2]

The levels of these neurotransmitters are high in people with fibromyalgia. That is the reason why people with this condition have very low pain threshold. Inflammation is quite common with fibromyalgia. This inflammation can occur anywhere in the chest and cause chest pain. When a person experiences chest pain caused by fibromyalgia, he or she may feel that something is wrong with their lungs or that they may have a cardiac issue.[2]

The pain is described as a sharp, stabbing and burning. The pain is localized in the center of the chest but sometimes will radiate outwards. How intense the chest pain will be will depend on the degree of inflammation. The pain will become worse with any movement, deep breathing, or pressure in the chest. It will be waxing and waning in nature. The pain tends to improve with rest.[2]

How To Deal With Chest Pain Caused By Fibromyalgia?

As of now, research is still ongoing as to what is the best treatment for fibromyalgia as it does not have a cure. Treatment is basically focused on managing the symptoms. Thus, the response to the treatments varies significantly from patient to patient. Some of the treatments given for fibromyalgia include.[2]

Medications: Aggressive treatment is required for severe and disabling chest pain due to fibromyalgia. The FDA has approved certain medications to calm down the inflammation and pain. Lyrica is as of now the most preferred medication used for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including chest pains. Cymbalta which is a tricyclic antidepressant is also quite effective in controlling chest pains associated with fibromyalgia. Savella is also equally effective in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia.[2]

Home Remedies: Aside from medications, there are also certain lifestyle modifications that can be quite effective in controlling the symptoms of chest pain due to fibromyalgia. These include plenty of rest, application of heat for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day alternating with ice packs for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day.[2]

Gentle stretches and exercising especially with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the chest in mind is quite effective in controlling the pains. Coping with stress in a healthy manner is also an effective way to treat the symptoms of chest pains associated with fibromyalgia. Additionally, maintaining good sleep hygiene, being well hydrated, eating a balanced and healthy diet, avoiding inflammatory foods, minimizing alcohol all play a big role in controlling chest pains caused due to fibromyalgia.[2]

Alternative Treatments: Chiropractic treatments, physical therapy and acupuncture are some of the alternative ways to treat chest pains caused due to fibromyalgia.[2]

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