Best treatment for fibromyalgia: Definition, symptoms, and treatment

The best treatment for fibromyalgia

Do you want to know the best treatment for fibromyalgia? Read this full article to know details about the best treatment for fibromyalgia, definition, causes, symptoms, and treatment, etc.

Summary of Fibromyalgia: best treatment for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized primarily by pain throughout the body, durable, variable, and diffuse, including joint and muscle, usually accompanied by severe fatigue and sleep disorders. This little-known pathology has long been poorly considered. Read more about the best treatment for fibromyalgia.

For those affected, mainly women, it has a strong impact on daily life but it is possible to relieve the symptoms, to learn to live with it. Its management is multidisciplinary, the objective being the management of pain and fatigue with a view to resuming activity.

One of the main challenges with fibromyalgia is that it is not explainable by an anatomical or physiological anomaly. It is therefore a functional disorder without a clearly established cause. But research progresses and discovers elements of explanation. Read more about the best treatment for fibromyalgia.

Find out on Pharma GDD what fibromyalgia is, how to diagnose it, and how to treat it.

What Is Fibromyalgia?  best treatment for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disabling condition, marked by chronic pain, which affects 1 to 3% of the population. It affects 80% or 90% of women, especially between 30 and 50 years old, but can also strike men and children. Read more about the best treatment for fibromyalgia.

Male patients are diagnosed later and generally have fewer symptoms than females. But the impact of this disease on their quality of life should not be underestimated.

Who is affected by fibromyalgia? best treatment for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a frequent affection: it represents about 2% of the population and particularly affects women (8 women for 2 men).

1 According to an Israeli study, this disorder represents no less than 10 to 20% of the reasons for consultation in rheumatology or internal medicine departments.

2 Usually, the syndrome begins in your thirties. Read more about the best treatment for fibromyalgia.

Is fibromyalgia common? the best treatment for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is common. About 2% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia, with a large predominance of women:  8 women for 2 men (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

It usually occurs in young or middle-aged women, usually starts around 30, but can also affect men, children, and adolescents.

Clinical signs of fibromyalgia: best treatment for fibromyalgia

First, the doctor will analyze the general condition: physical and moral suffering, search for associated depression, the impact of symptoms on daily life, then will examine the clinical signs that suggest fibromyalgia:

  • Diffuse pain that affects both sides of the body and lasts for at least 3 months
  • Very strong fatigue
  • Sleeping troubles

The doctor may order additional examinations which will serve to rule out other diseases whose symptoms resemble those of fibromyalgia: osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, enclosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis, Gougerot-Sjögren syndrome, etc. There is today, no laboratory or radiological examination that can confirm fibromyalgia (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

What are the risk factors for fibromyalgia? best treatment for fibromyalgia

Several factors that can trigger fibromyalgia or worsen the disorders are known:

Overwork, excess or lack of physical activity (loss of muscle mass)

Physical trauma:

  • Cervical accidents: whiplash.
  • Serious diseases.
  • Surgical interventions.

Psychological trauma:

life events such as divorces, bereavements, dismissals, harassment at work.

  • Significant physical or mental stress.
  • Spend a lot of time in damp or cold climates.
  • Poor sleep or feeling very tired and exhausted.
  • Moderate activity, serenity, heat improve pain.

People at risk of contracting fibromyalgia syndrome

Are particularly at risk of fibromyalgia:

  1. The women: Fibromyalgia mainly affects women aged 30 to 55 (8 to 9 out of 10 cases). Doctors believe those female sex hormones are involved in the onset of the disease. That said, the trigger mechanisms have still not been discovered (best treatment for fibromyalgia).
  2. Statistics also show that anxious people, who often experience stressful situations, are more likely than other populations to have symptoms of fibromyalgia. Several situations can increase anxiety and disorder:
  3. The fear that the symptoms suggest serious illness (best treatment for fibromyalgia).
  4. The fact that someone close to you: a doctor, a family member, or a friend, suggests that the symptoms are “in the head”
  5. Often saying that they “look healthy” when they are not feeling well.
  6. A higher percentage is also observed in individuals who have someone in their family who is depressed or has fibromyalgia.
  7. People with rheumatic diseases such as osteoarthritis, arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as certain infections (lupus, AIDS), have a higher risk of contracting fibromyalgia (best treatment for fibromyalgia).
  8. Anguished people
  9. People who are sometimes depressed or tense
  10. People who have difficulty concentrating

Fibromyalgia syndrome: best treatment for fibromyalgia

What characterizes the syndrome is the absence of anomaly to explain it. There is no lesion at its origin, no recognizable cause. This is called a “functional disorder” and complicates its diagnosis (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

However, fibromyalgia is not new. We find traces of it as early as the 19th century, and the Anglo-Saxons spoke in the 1920s of fibrositis (fibrosis in French) to designate it. The problem with this term is that the suffix ” –it is ” denotes the disease as inflammation, which is not the case.

It was not until the 1970s that Smythe and Moldofsky, two Canadians, gave this syndrome its current name. Etymologically, it is formed from fibro -, referring to fibrous human tissues, such as tendons, my -, which relates to muscles, and – headache, pain (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

Fibromyalgia was then recognized by the WHO as a rheumatic disease in 1992, then as a disease in its own right in the 2000s.

Fibromyalgia is therefore not a manifestation of hysteria, or of depression. This is because the symptoms of fibromyalgia may resemble those of depression, but the latter leads to worthlessness and lack of desire that is not found in fibromyalgia.

On the other hand, having chronic pain such as fibromyalgia can lead to the development of manifestations of depression, which do not improve the situation (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

Fibromyalgia: The main symptoms best treatment for fibromyalgia

The most important symptom of fibromyalgia is pain. This, which can be very strong, is chronic – more than 3 months – and persistent, although it can vary. The pain is described as diffuse and varying in intensity (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

It is migratory: it can start at certain points on the body and then spread. Joints affected by pain sometimes give the patient the impression of being swollen, when they are not. In the morning, the pain manifests as morning stiffness (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

  • This pain is amplified by exertion, insufficient sleep, cold, humidity, or emotional stress.
  • Often associated with this pain are two common symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia: chronic fatigue and sleep disorders.
  • Sleep, often interrupted by pain, is not perceived as restorative.
  • Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from cognitive slowdown. They have difficulty concentrating and paying attention with possible memory impairment.

Other associated pathologies

We sometimes find other problems and conditions in people with fibromyalgia:

  • Irritable bowel,
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (blood circulation disorder characterized by cold, pale, and numb extremities),
  • Painful bladder syndrome,
  • Interstitial cystitis,
  • Headache,
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Thyroid problems,
  • Systemic lupus is erythematosus.

The psychological impact of fibromyalgia can be very significant. It manifests as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. These attacks can in turn amplify the pain (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Physiological causes:

(Hormonal disorders, nervous system disorders) people with fibromyalgia feel more pain than others. Fibromyalgia is therefore characterized by a decrease in the pain perception threshold (best treatment for fibromyalgia);

Genetic causes:

Environmental factors (trauma, shock, stressful event during childhood or adolescence, then intense stress in adulthood …).

Aggravating causes:

Several aggravating factors are known: inactivity or overwork, stress, cold and humid climate.

Several hypotheses attempt to explain this phenomenon. Functional MRI, a medical imaging technique, has shed light on the phenomena at work in fibromyalgia thanks to the analysis of brain activity. Involved in the disease:  Specific neural connections in an area of ​​the brain. They cause abnormal pain perception (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

Thus, in subjects with fibromyalgia, a non-painful sensitive message becomes painful, once “read” by the brain. And the really painful messages are increased.

But this is not the only explanation. People with fibromyalgia are “weakened” in the face of the disease. There are therefore multiple influences explaining that some people develop this syndrome: heredity, hormones, infection (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

Since having a parent with fibromyalgia puts you at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia yourself, a genetic influence can be put forward. Genes could be involved in the way the body treats pain.

The infections, viral in particular, are also implicated in the onset of fibromyalgia or its aggravation. Other hypotheses to try to explain fibromyalgia: hormonal changes, sleep disorder, trauma, stress, or pregnancy (best treatment for fibromyalgia).

Finally, some patients may actually be suffering not from fibromyalgia, but from one of the forms of Ehlers-Danlos disease. This is a set of genetic pathologies marked by an attack on the supporting and protective tissue of the organism, the connective tissue.

The hypermobile type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome causes symptoms that correspond exactly to those of fibromyalgia (pain in the joints, feeling of fatigue, etc.).

Can we prevent fibromyalgia?

Since the causes of the disease are not clearly recognized, it is difficult to prevent fibromyalgia.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to be attentive and have a healthy lifestyle:

Limit periods of stress, since symptoms increase with stress.

  • Get regular sleep.
  • Limit risky situations, in particular, to avoid viral diseases.
  • Do stretches and exercises.
  • Apply warm compresses to the painful points.
  • Practice massages.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

There is no precise method for definitively diagnosing fibromyalgia. The diagnostic criteria are evolving.

In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR – American College of Rheumatology) published criteria for establishing the diagnosis of fibromyalgia:

  • Extensive, diffuse pain lasting for at least 3 months, affecting both upper and lower body, right side and left side.
  • The existence of specific points on the body, becoming painful when the doctor exerts a pressure of 4 kg (until his nail turns white). These points are 18 in number. According to these criteria, a minimum of 11 pain points was required to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

18 pain points

Today, the test of the 18 pain points is called into question. Indeed, it lacks precision, and the exercise of too high a pressure, poorly controlled by the doctor, could generate pain even in non-fibromyalgia patients and thus be misleading.

The American College of Rheumatology revised its criteria in 2010 to propose a new diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It is based on two tools: a generalized pain index and a symptom severity scale.

The first identifies 19 points on the body and makes it possible to estimate the number of these points that have been painful during the last 7 days. It is to be crossed with the second tool which measures the severity of the symptoms felt (fatigue, sleep, and cognitive disorders, etc.) on a scale ranging from 0 to 3.

At present, the main criterion of fibromyalgia remains the presence of diffuse, extensive pain lasting at least three months.

When he suspects fibromyalgia, the doctor asks for additional examinations: a blood test and an x-ray of the pelvis and sacroiliacs. He can also test for antibodies. Its objective is to rule out other pathologies which could explain the symptoms reported.

In 2016, it was discovered that the thickness of the retina of people with fibromyalgia was thinner than normal. This research could lead to the development of a test based on the eye examination to help make the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

A test, available, the First questionnaire (Fibromyalgia Rapid Screening Tool – a rapid fibromyalgia screening tool) allows you to quickly and easily identify if you have fibromyalgia. He is very reliable. It only takes a few minutes to achieve it. Once the result has been obtained, if it is positive, do not hesitate to talk to your general practitioner.

How to treat fibromyalgia?

As the cause of the pain is unknown, there is no specific treatment. The management of fibromyalgia requires a multidisciplinary approach. The management of fibromyalgia can be classified into two broad categories: those based on drugs, and those not involving drugs.

The goal of these treatments is to relieve symptoms – treat fatigue and reduce pain – reduce their impact on daily life and initiate a personalized return to physical activity. Regular monitoring will allow these treatments to be re-evaluated.

 Medicines for fibromyalgia

Several types of drugs are used to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia:

Anticonvulsants also called anti-epileptics; lower the excitability of the nerves that send the message responsible for the pain.

The painkillers among the most commonly used drugs today is tramadol. For better efficiency, it is often combined with paracetamol.

The anxiolytic they fight against anxiety, a frequent symptom of fibromyalgia patients.

The antidepressants are taken in low doses, for their effect on sleep and pain: here they have an analgesic role, thanks to their action in the brain.

Fibromyalgia: Non-drug treatments

Physical activity is fundamental in the fight against fibromyalgia. Indeed, the absence of any activity is one of the main risks induced by the disease.

This activity should take the form of short exercises at the beginning, so as not to trigger pain. These exercises will follow a realistic schedule and will be carried out daily. They will be in line with the physical condition of the patient.

Among the recommended sports: walking, cycling, swimming, and muscle exercises. The thermotherapy allows relieving effectively, almost without side effects, the pains of fibromyalgia. They most often use heat, but for some, cold is preferred.

Heating or cooling pads specially designed to be easy to heat or cool have been developed. Some are designed to adapt to a joint or a region of the body (elbow, knee, back).

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