Fibromyalgia is a form of rheumatism that does not affect the joints, but the muscles and connective tissue.
The name comes from the Greek and means:
Fibro = connective tissue
Myo = muscle
Algie = pain
So literally connective tissue muscle pain.
With this condition, you have chronic pain and stiffness spread throughout the body. The most sensitive areas are found in the neck, hips, shoulders and hands. The pain radiates to the muscles throughout the body. Patients also suffer from digestive complaints, skin complaints, eczema, dry eyes and dry mouth. In addition, fibromyalgia is accompanied by a tingling or burning sensation in the limbs. The symptoms are usually most severe in the morning. Many patients have an abnormality in their sleep pattern. The lack of a good night’s sleep causes them to become overtired. This can lead to chronic lack of energy and exhaustion.
Fibromyalgia occurs in 2% of adults between the ages of 20 and 60. Women are ten times more likely to suffer from this condition than men.
What is the cause of fibromyalgia?
The exact cause of fibromyalgia has not yet been determined by medical science. The patients usually have a healthy appearance, normal blood levels, and examinations show no abnormalities in the muscles or connective tissue. And without a visible cause, no diagnosis can be made. This is why doctors have the greatest difficulty in determining whether a patient is suffering from this disease. It was not until 1976 that fibromyalgia was designated as a condition in its own right. That made it possible to create a protocol for doctors to make a diagnosis. Meanwhile, research into the cause of fibromyalgia has been conducted for 40 years. However, the disease is so complex that scientists don’t know exactly what to look for.
What do we know about fibromyalgia?
The 40 years of research into this condition has produced some results. The main difference with healthy people is, that patients with fibromyalgia are not able to get into a deep sleep. Alpha waves disrupt the delta waves that provide this stage of sleep. And these waves create a waking state. Chronic sleep deprivation results in insufficient growth hormones being produced for the repair and maintenance of muscle and connective tissue. This is a possible explanation for the pain and stiffness. According to research, the chronic lack of sleep is caused by abnormalities in neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. These are substances produced in the brain that tell the body what to do. In patients with fibromyalgia, there is an abnormal production of these neurotransmitters. This not only leads to abnormal sleep patterns, but also changes the way the body manages pain.
Scientific research shows that the malfunctioning of the nervous system is the cause of fibromyalgia. So the immune system would play no role in this condition. However, a great deal of research is still needed to determine the exact cause of fibromyalgia based on all these leads.
Treatment of fibromyalgia
Little is still known about the cause of fibromyalgia. This means that, unfortunately, no treatment method has yet been developed for this disease. Therefore, doctors will only be able to focus on reducing the main symptoms: pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and stiffness.
The doctor will prescribe paracetamol or another painkiller for the pain. Although fibromyalgia is not necessarily associated with inflammation, there are patients who report benefiting from these natural anti-inflammatories.
A physiotherapist can exercise with you to improve physical fitness and endurance. You can also go swimming, cycling or walking under expert guidance to keep your muscles strong and flexible.
A nutritionist can help you improve your eating habits so that you gain more energy to stave off fatigue.
Massage helps to address both the pain and the poor sleep. The treatment is different for each person because the complaints are different. A specific massage has been developed for fibromyalgia: the fibromassage. Recent research by the University of Miami has shown that massage is one of the most beneficial treatments for Fibromyalgia patients.
Mass practice Koetsier would like to help you to make a plan where we work together to strongly reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms for a longer period of time.