What is Fibrositis?
Fibrositis is pain or inflammation of the muscle sheaths, muscles and connective-tissue layers of the bones, tendons, muscles, and joints.1 The commonly affected areas in fibrositis include the muscular regions of the lower back, shoulder, neck, arms, chest, hips and thighs. Adults aged between 30 and 60 years old are more commonly affected by it. Also, Fibrositis affects women more than men.
Signs & Symptoms of Fibrositis
- Patient suffering from Fibrositis experiences weakness and stiffness.
- Occurrence of nodules or localized areas which are tender to touch (also known as trigger points).
- Patient suffering from fibrositis is often fatigued.
- Fibrositis patient experiences “charley horse,” which are sudden and painful muscle spasms exacerbated upon any activity.
- Painful muscle regions in the body are one of the signs and symptom of fibrositis.
- Fibrositis patient often have symptoms of difficulty remaining asleep.
Causes & Risk Factors of Fibrositis
The exact cause of fibrositis is not known.2 The possible cause could be an autoimmune disorder or an imbalance in brain chemicals. Till the recent past, fibrositis was thought to be a psychological disorder; however, this is no longer the case. Studies are still going on as to the exact cause of the fibrositis.
Some of the risk factors of fibrositis include:
- Injury to the muscle.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Exposure to cold or dampness.
- Poor nutrition.
- Viral infections.
- Fatigue or overworking.
- Having a previous history of disorders, which lead to joint inflammation, such as polyarteritis.
Risk factors should be avoided as much as possible. Patient should exercise daily and get adequate sound sleep.
Prognosis of Fibrositis
Some patients can spontaneously recover from fibrositis. Some patients may have indefinite flare-ups and remissions. Fibrositis is an uncomfortable disease, but is not a life-threatening condition. Treatment helps in relieving the symptoms of fibrositis. Some of the complications which the patient can experience as a result of fibrositis include muscle disability, atrophy, abusing and misusing painkillers.
Tests to Diagnose Fibrositis
There are blood studies and laboratory tests which are done to measure the amount of inflammation which the patient has. Tests are also done to rule out polymyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. There is no specific test to diagnose this condition.
How can Fibrositis be Treated?
- Heat application helps in alleviating the pain associated with fibrositis. Patient suffering from fibrositis can benefit from taking hot showers, and allowing the water to beat on painful regions. Electric heating pads, heat lamps, whirlpool, hot compresses and plain tub baths can also be used to conservatively treat fibrositis.
- Fibrositis patient should try and rest regularly to relieve pain.
- Gentle massage on the painful areas is also helpful in fibrositis.
- Patient should learn relaxation techniques and meditate and cut out the unnecessary stress in his/her life.
- Biofeedback for fibrositis helps in relaxing the contracted muscles.
- Patient should try and continue to maintain interaction with others even though the pain could be very distracting at sometimes.
- Over-the-counter pain medications or NSAIDs, such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen help in relieving minor discomfort.
- Cortisone injections can be given into “trigger points.”
- Antidepressants such as alprazolam, zolpidem, carisoprodol, citalopram can be prescribed in low doses and for short periods of time.
- Patient should stay as much active as possible, even when he/she is experiencing pain.
- General conditioning exercises and stretching exercises are so beneficial in relieving pain associated with fibrositis.
- Patient should avoid drinks, such as alcohol and caffeine which interfere with sleep.