Fibromyalgia is one of the diseases of the rheumatic type (rheumatism) and manifests itself mainly by severe muscle pain. Often sufferers over many years with the worst pain, run from doctor to doctor and are not taken seriously with their disease. The fibromyalgia syndrome, also known as generalized tendomyopathy, myofascial pain syndrome or fibrositis syndrome, is a chronic, non-inflammatory rheumatic disease of unknown cause.
Fibromyalgia syndrome: tormenting muscle pain
Fibromyalgia is characterized by a generalized pain that exclusively affects the soft tissues without any changes in the joints or bones. Unfortunately, this also means that diagnostic information can not be found either in the laboratory or in the imaging diagnostics (X-ray, etc.) - as a result, those affected are often not taken seriously and it takes a long time until the correct diagnosis is made.
Fibromyalgia affects about 0.7 to 3.2 percent of the population between the ages of 20 and 40, women more often than men and in a ratio of 6: 1.
Causes: How does fibromyalgia develop?
The cause of fibromyalgia is unclear. Various theories suggest autoimmune mechanisms as well as psychogenic causes. Several studies have shown that the pain processing in the brain is changed and there is a stronger inflammatory response in those affected.
Obviously, there is also a connection to various hormone activities. Thus, a sleep disturbance (with a lack of deep sleep) can lead to a further hormonal dysbalance as well as disturbances in the immune system, which in turn explain the symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, it is clear that a triggering event can not be determined for this purpose.
Symptoms: How Does Fibromyalgia Express?
An outstanding symptom is generalized generalized pain, which is accompanied by a number of additional disorders. These include mainly:
- morning stiffness
- sleep disorders
- sensory disturbances
- a headache
Vegetative accompanying symptoms are:
- cold hands and feet
- a strong sweat tendency
- functional cardiovascular disorders
- gastrointestinal disorders (for example, irritable bowel syndrome)
- Bladder and rectal disorders
Furthermore, one can often observe mental disorders such as depression. Whether these are primarily attributable to the disease as such, or else develop secondarily due to the often lengthy course of the disease with usually delayed diagnosis, has not yet been clarified.
Diagnosis: How to diagnose fibromyalgia
If you have had pain in three different parts of your body for at least three months, you should have a look for fibromyalgia.
Diagnostically decisive are the so-called painful pressure points to be localized in the clinical examination (the tender points). They are located in the transition region of muscles and tendons in the region of the neck and lumbar region, the shoulder and pelvic girdle as well as on the knees and elbows. If 11 of the 18 tender points are sensitive to pressure, fibromyalgia is likely.
Laboratory tests and imaging techniques are usually inconspicuous and should only be used to exclude other possible diseases. Among other things, all other diseases that come into question include:
- rheumatic diseases
- the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Drug side effects
- Infectious diseases and various malignant diseases