Fibromyalgia syndrome, FMS, fibrositis or fibromyalgia is achronic condition which causes tenderness of the muscles, tendons and joints inthe body, as well as the stiffness and pain. Patients suffering from thiscondition usually experience disabling pain but there is no damage to theorgans or tissues in the body.
FMS should be distinguished from other similar problems suchas rheumatoid arthritis, polyomyositis or systemic lupus. Although patientswith these problems experience similar pain, there is also some inflammation, deformityand damage to different organs in the body. However, fibromyalgia patients don’tsuffer from these problems. No one knows what is causing fibromyalgia in thefirst place. Doctors and scientists have been able only to identify thesymptoms and determine the difference between this and above mentionedrheumatic conditions.
This medical condition usually affects women in the agegroup from 35 to 55, but it can lead to muscle pain in children, men and women,regardless their age.
Causes and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Scientists discovered that these patients have unexpectedly highlevel of the chemical known as the substance P (P as in Pain). This substance isresponsible for the transduction of painful signals and elevated levels may beresponsible for the pain patients feel. Other options include: increased levelof nerve growth factor, decreased amount of serotonin or super-sensitivity ofthe brain also found in fibromyalgia patients. Various traumas and infections,as well as the psychological stress have been found to act as triggers for theonset of fibromyalgia pains.
Patients suffering from fibromyalgia frequently experience chronicfatigue, restless sleep and waking up feeling very tired. Many of them arefaced with disturbances in the function of the bowels like irritable bowelsyndrome (present in 90% of the cases), but also with depression and anxiety asthese are problems known to accompany fibromyalgia. Symptoms of fibromyalgiamay also include impaired rapid eye movement, leading to fatigue after sleep.
Fibromyalgia Treatment Options
So far, there is no diagnostic test for fibromyalgiaavailable and doctors still don’t know what is causing this problem. Treatment usuallyincludes education, proper exercise, stress management techniques andmedications when necessary.
Scientists are currently developing the drugs to help peopleexperiencing fibromyalgia pains. They are trying to find something that can blocksubstance P or to affect nerve growth factor, hoping that these newly developedmedications might be helpful for patients suffering from fibromyalgia.