Fibromyalgia or the Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome (FPS) is a chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder.
In laymen terms, Fibromyalgia, formerly known as fibrositis, is defined as a long-term, body-wide pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons, the soft fibrous tissues in the body.
Fibromyalgia is typically characterized by widespread aches and pains, restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, fatigue, anxiety, depression and disturbances of bowel function.
Incidence and Prevalence
Research shows that the Fibromyalgia syndrome affects about 3% of the female population and 1% of the male population. Figures also show that Fibromyalgia predominantly affects women between the ages of 35 and 55.
Symptoms of the Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Here we list some of the most prominent symptoms of the fibromyalgia syndrome:
· Multiple tender areas on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows and knees
· Sleep disturbances
· Body aches
· Reduced exercise tolerance
· Chronic facial muscle pain or aching
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS)
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is essentially defined as a painful musculoskeletal condition, characterized by the development of Myofascial trigger points (TrPs), that are locally tender when active and refer pain through specific patterns to other areas of the body.
A trigger point, when pressed upon causes pain that is felt elsewhere in the body, known as referred pain.
It should be noted that there are no trigger points in Fibromyalgia. However, fibromyalgia is also considered as a perpetuating factor of MPS.
Causes of Trigger points
Factors that can cause trigger points include:
· Sudden trauma to musculoskeletal tissues
· Injury to intervertebral discs
· Repetitive motions, excessive exercise
· Muscle strain due to over activity
· Systemic conditions, such as gall bladder inflammation, heart attack, appendicitis, stomach irritation
· Lack of activity
· Nutritional deficiencies
· Hormonal changes (during PMS/ menopause)
· Nervous tension or stress
· Chilling of areas of the body
Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Though FMS and MPS are different conditions, vast majority of physicians lump them together because they normally see patients having symptoms of both of the diseases.
Moreover, while MPS exhibits a localized pain, in FMS the pain is diffused. While fatigue is quite common in FMS, it is quite uncommon in MPS. In addition, FMS shows symptoms of being chronic in the longer run, while MPS resolves to quite an extent with treatment.
Interestingly, another difference between the two syndromes is that women are more susceptible than men to have FMS.
Treatment options for both of these conditions vary as per the individual condition. Here we list some of the generalized forms of preventive and treatment measures for these conditions:
· Medications, such as antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medicines
· Healthy diet
· Patient education
· Stress reduction
· Lifestyle measures
· Physical therapy
In refractory cases, other methods can be employed, often with success. These include:
· Needling with local anaesthetic and corticosteroid to trigger points
· Injection of Botulinum Toxin A into trigger points
Fibromyalgia Case Reports and Information Sources
- Fibromyalgia Case reports and Information Resources
Further Links on Fibromyalgia