What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic somatic disease of muscles, tendon, ligaments and joints.1
Is Fibromyalgia a Common Disease?
Fibromyalgia is not a common disease like upper respiratory tract infection or bronchitis, but the percentage of patients suffering with fibromyalgia is slowly increasing over the last few years.
Fibromyalgia is more common in females between age 20 and 40 years of age. Epidemiological studies published in Europe and United States suggests prevalence rate of fibromyalgia in general population is between 4 to 16 %. In the United States 4% of population suffer with symptoms of fibromyalgia at least once in lifetime.
What Are The Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Common fibromyalgia symptoms are muscle pain1, joint pain, joint stiffness, sleep disturbance, and cognitive symptoms like stress, anxiety and depression.
Why Fibromyalgia Pain is Intolerable?
Fibromyalgia pain is a neuropathic pain, which is severe in intensity and continuous in character. Pain is exemplified as allodynia and hyperalgesia. Pain is widespread over neck, shoulder, upper arm, lower back, thigh and buttocks. Pain may be severe during entire day and less intense during nighttime. Widespread pain is often bilateral. There are 18 painful trigger points identified causing Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when 11 painful trigger point areas are identified during examination at one time. Pain is intolerable because of severe intensity and widespread distribution of tender spots.
Why 11 Painful Trigger Points for a Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia?
There are several diseases causing muscle pain like myofascial pain syndrome, muscle spasm, muscle tear and myoclonic pain syndrome. In the past Fibromyalgia was diagnosed as widespread disease in comparison to other pain producing muscle diseases. Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia with 11 tender points is no longer considered as mandatory. Severe intractable wide spread muscular pain with several tender spots and jump sign is diagnosed as Fibromyalgia.
What is “Jump Sign”?
Jump sign is a reaction to examination of tender spot. Physician while examination the patient, touches the tender spot, causing the patient to jump. Jump Sign is a sudden pain of much higher intensity than resting pain. Sudden reaction of jumping away from examination or simple touch is called “Jump Sign”.
Does Anatomical Position of Tender Point Changes With Time?
Yes. Most common location of Fibromyalgia severe pain is neck, shoulder and the lower back. Tender spot over any dermatomal area may change position during subsequent examination. Fibromyalgia is a disease of muscle at microscopic level. Physiological abnormalities of muscles may frequently affect or migrate to adjacent area and cause severe pain.
What is the Cause of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disease of skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles are important for movements of extremities and core body.2 There are several theories regarding cause of Fibromyalgia suggested by complicated research studies. Lab abnormalities found in research studies may not be observed in all patients with Fibromyalgia like symptoms. Specialized lab studies suggest Fibromyalgia may be a disease caused by abnormal pain receptors or abnormal secretion of neurotransmitters. Few studies also indicate Fibromyalgia may be an autoimmune disease. Genetic predisposition is also observed in twins and families. Fibromyalgia is also caused by neuroendocrine irregularities like serotonin metabolism abnormalities or dopamine deficiency.
Is Fibromyalgia Associated With Cognitive Dysfunction?
Yes, physical, emotional and childhood stress may influence mental function and cause cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive dysfunction is a dysfunction of intellectual, perceptive and mental ability of brain. Cognitive dysfunction such as anxiety, depression, insomnia (unable to sleep) and feeling miserable are very common in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia.
Are There Risk Factors, Which May Induce Fibromyalgia?
There are risk factors associated with Fibromyalgia. Scientific evidence does not suggest any of these risk factors causing Fibromyalgia.
Which are the Risk Factors Associated With Fibromyalgia?
Persistent and repeated viral infection, hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorder and depression may precede or succeed Fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms are also seen in patients with history of insufficient finances, widowed, female patients, and chronic smoking.
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