According to ICD-11, fibromyalgia or chronic widespread pain (CWP) is diffuse pain in at least 4 of 5 body regions and is associated with significant emotional distress (anxiety, anger/frustration or depressed mood) or functional disability (interference in daily life activities and reduced participation in social roles). CWP is multifactorial: biological, psychological and social factors contribute to the pain syndrome.
The diagnosis is appropriate when the pain is not directly attributable to a nociceptive process in these regions and there are features consistent with nociplastic pain and identified psychological and social contributors.
Most Common sign and symptoms:
- Pain and stiffness all over the body (widespread pain)
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration (fibro-fog)
- Headaches, including migraines
- Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ)
- Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)
Many researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain and spinal cord of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain.
In addition, the brain’s pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become sensitized, meaning they can overreact to painful and nonpainful signals.
A past illness could trigger fibromyalgia or make its symptoms worse. The flu, pneumonia, GI infections, such as those caused by Salmonella and Shigella bacteria, and the Epstein-Barr virus all have possible links to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia often runs in families. If you have a family member with this condition, you’re at higher risk for developing it.
People who go through a severe physical or emotional trauma may develop fibromyalgia.
Anyone can get fibromyalgia, but it is more common in,
- Women; they are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia
- Middle-aged people
- People with certain diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis
- People who have a family member with fibromyalgia
If someone has one or more sign/symptoms the person can visit a General Practitioner, Neuropsychology, Psychology and Rheumatology specialist as soon as possible. Doctors often use the patient’s history, physical exam, X-rays, and blood work to diagnose fibromyalgia.
The main factor needed for a fibromyalgia diagnosis is widespread pain throughout your body for at least three months.
To meet the criteria, you must have pain in at least four of these five areas:
- Left upper region, including shoulder, arm or jaw
- Right upper region, including shoulder, arm or jaw
- Left lower region, including hip, buttock or leg
- Right lower region, including hip, buttock or leg
- Axial region, which includes neck, back, chest or abdomen
Your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Blood tests may include:
- Complete blood count
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Rheumatoid factor
- Thyroid function tests
- Anti-nuclear antibody
- Celiac serology
- Vitamin D
If there’s a chance that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study.
Currently, there isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, treatment focuses on reducing symptoms and improving quality of life with:
- self-care strategies
- lifestyle changes
Medications can relieve pain and help you sleep better. Physical and occupational therapy improve your strength and reduce stress on your body. Exercise and stress-reduction techniques can help you feel better, both mentally and physically.
In addition, you may wish to seek out support and guidance. This may involve seeing a therapist or joining a support group.
How does a person get fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional (psychological) stress. Possible triggers for the condition include: an injury. a viral infection.
What kind of disease is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia was formerly classified as an inflammatory musculoskeletal disease but is now considered to be an illness that primarily affects the central nervous system.