What is one of the most common rheumatological conditions?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is an extra-articular disease characterized by diffuse pain, fatigue of skeletal muscles and a decrease in the level of pain threshold on palpation in characteristic places designated as “pain points”. Signs of fibromyalgia are a relatively new illness for rheumatologists in most countries. The absence of inflammation symptoms in muscles during morphological examination excluded the use of the term “fibrositis”, therefore, in the last decade, the name of this pathology as fibromyalgia has taken root in the medicine.
Nowadays it is one of the most frequent disorders of outpatient practice, occupying the 2nd – 3rd place among all reasons for referring to a rheumatologist.
What are the first signs of Fibromyalgia?
There is a vivid variety of fibromyalgia symptoms, including:
- diffuse pain in the left or right side of the body, above or below the waist;
- axial pain (in the neck, in the region of the anterior chest wall, in the back);
- poor sleep. According to the studies, the lack of a sense of rest after sleep is noted by up to 100% of patients;
- stiffness, which is noted by 70% of patients usually in the morning and evening hours, its duration can range from 1 to 24 hours (on average, about 10 hours);
- rarely swelling in the joints and numbness of the extremities.
Fibromyalgia symptoms in women (aged 30-50 years) are more frequent than fibromyalgia in men. The ratio of females and males is 5-10: 1. As a rule, the syndrome develops among people of intellectual work. As for the children (94% are girls), fibromyalgia causes usually occur during puberty; only a few cases of the disorder are noted under 13 years. The elderly can suffer from this syndrome either.
The outbreak of the disease, normally, is gradual with a slow increase in pain over many years, so that the first step to fibromyalgia treatment made by patients occurs 8-10 years after the onset of the illness. The duration of the pain syndrome is more than 3 months. The presence of another clinical pathology doesn’t exclude the diagnosis of FS.
What causes fibromyalgia?
There is a number of factors that provoke symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- climate features;
- emotional stress;
- viruses or infections;
- injuries or other sad events, like a car accident;
- other illnesses.
Fibromyalgia syndrome may develop for no apparent reason, however mainly its onset can be associated with the transferred physical or mental stress, weather change.
How to diagnose fibromyalgia?
The first thing you have to do is to consult a specialist in Advanced Medical Care. You will have to describe your medical and family history, possible fibromyalgia symptoms and undergo some studies. One of them is a detection of possible painful points in certain anatomical places using palpation or a dolorimeter device, which allows to give a dosed load in the area of painful points. The use of this device objectifies and differentiates the diagnosis.
Curing fibromyalgia syndrome is a rather difficult task. This process should begin with the diagnosis and clarification of their condition. If possible, our clinic identifies provoking factors, gives recommendations on the regime and behavior. Taking a warm bath in the morning, removing additional loads or organizing rest can already give patients relief.
Therapy with unknown etiopathogenetic factors, which is symptomatic, directed against the leading symptoms of fibromyalgia. Physiotherapy measures, unfortunately, give a short-term effect. Among them:
- thermal procedures, with the effectiveness of 30-40%;
- massage – 20%;
- sunbathing -12%;
- exercise therapy – 9%.
Analgesics can also be used for evaluating the illness.