Fibromyalgia is not an objectively determined medical diagnosis, but a collective name for muscle complaints that medical science cannot yet explain. It is clear that these muscle complaints do not cause any damage to the body, despite the considerable pain they can cause. Fibromyalgia is therefore not an objectively determined medical diagnosis, but what is it?
What is Fibromyalgia?
A patient suffering from fibromyalgia has pain in the muscles and connective tissue. Fibro (connective tissue), myo (muscles) and pain (algia). Fibromyalgia is also sometimes called soft tissue rheumatism. Most patients are women between the ages of twenty and sixty. It occurs in 2% of European adults. Although fibromyalgia cannot be diagnosed by research, it is indeed a medically recognized syndrome.
What causes the pain in fibromyalgia?
No cause for the pain has yet been found, but patients with fibromyalgia appear to produce an abnormally high amount of neurotransmitters (particularly glutamate). The result of this high amount of neurotransmitters is a constant high tension in the muscles, causing the patient to suffer from pain and stiffness. In addition, the neurotransmitters affect sleep, causing the patient to sleep very lightly, which ultimately results in general exhaustion. The symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia resemble the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Another condition that cannot be fully explained by medical science.
Fibromyalgia and high sensitivity
Highly sensitive people (also called highly sensitive) are more likely to be stimulated than people without this character trait. They are particularly empathetic and perceive stimuli more intensely, which makes them stick around longer. They are also more sensitive to smell, sound and light. These people need more time to process stimuli than other people. It appears that these people are also more susceptible to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Fibromyalgia cannot be diagnosed. It is not detectable with blood tests, X-rays or physical examination. The diagnosis is made by excluding other causes. When the pain complaints remain present in at least eleven pain points for at least three months and in three or more places in the body, it is called fibromyalgia. The pain points can be found in the neck, halfway between the upper shoulder line, slightly lower in the shoulder line, more towards the spine, above the collarbone in the neck, the connection between the collarbone and sternum, on the inside of the elbow, at the top of the hips. at the bottom of the spine and at the bottom of the hips just below the buttocks. The last pain point known in Fibromyalgia is on the inside of the knee.
Brain and Fibromyalgia
An MRI scan can show that something is wrong with the patient. A healthy person does not or hardly react when pressing on one of the previously mentioned pain points, but in a patient with Fibromyalgia you see a clear increase in brain activity. This is evident from research by I. Jon Russel, physician and publisher of The Journal of Musculosskeletal Pain.
Fibromyalgia cannot be cured. After all, people don’t even know exactly what it is and what causes it. The treatment therefore consists of medication (painkillers) and exercise in the form of exercises to keep the muscles and tendons as flexible as possible. Furthermore, stress should be prevented as much as possible to prevent worsening of the complaints. Nowadays, magnesium is also often prescribed because of its muscle relaxing effect. Yet there is hope for patients suffering from Fibromyalgia. A study was conducted in California in which fibromyalgia patients were prescribed low-dose Naltrexone. This seems to have a beneficial effect on pain complaints. Naltrexone is an existing drug that was developed as a withdrawal aid for opiate addiction.