The FM syndrome is a chronic and complex disease that causes widespread pain and fatigue, as well as a variety of other symptoms. While it is true that it is more widespread among adult women, FM also affects children, the elderly and men. Since FM has few externally visible symptoms, it has also been dubbed the “invisible disability” syndrome.
The pain of FM usually consists of diffuse pain or burning from the head to the tip of the feet and is often accompanied by muscle spasms. Acuity varies depending on the day and can change location.
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Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia (among others)
Rigidity : body rigidity usually manifests especially when waking up and after spending a lot of time sitting or standing in the same position or coinciding with changes in temperature or relative humidity.
Migraines or facial pains : patients with FM can suffer frequent migraines, tension and vascular headaches. Also pain in the temples, behind the eyes, and jaw facial pain.
Paresthesia : FM is sometimes accompanied by numbness or tingling, especially in the hands and feet. This sensation can be described as an itching or burning sensation.
Sensitivity to temperature : fibromyalgia tend to be very sensitive to room temperature. Often, some feel cold compared to the people around them, while others feel hot. Sometimes these patients have an unusual sensitivity to cold hands or feet, accompanied by changes in skin color. This disease is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Skin discomfort : FM can present with some annoying symptoms such as itching, dryness and redness of the skin. In addition, patients may have the sensation of swelling of extremities such as the fingers. A common annoyance is that the ring no longer fits on the finger, such swelling, however, is not equal to the inflammation of the joints caused by arthritis, but is a localized FM anomaly whose cause is currently unknown .
Chest symptoms : patients can also develop a condition called “costochondralgia” that involves muscle pain where the ribs meet the sternum.
Sensations in the legs : some patients may develop a neurological disorder known as “restless legs syndrome” characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, especially when you are resting or lying down.
Symptoms of pain : Chronic and generalized skeletal muscle pain for more than three months in the four quadrants of the body (generalized pain means pain above and below the hip and on both sides of the body). In addition there is pain in the cervical, anterior part of the chest, thoracic vertebrae and lumbar region.
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) located 18 tender points where pain is detected. They came to say that when there were more than 11 painful points, it was when FM was diagnosed.
Limitations of the ACR criteria : in the absence of laboratory tests or X-rays, the ACR criteria were a milestone in the recognition and study of the fibromyalgia syndrome. For the first time, researchers from around the world could identify FM patients using standardized measures. The patients, who were lost in the tangles of medical science, could finally be diagnosed. However, these criteria were not without drawbacks.
In the first place, the sensitive points model inferred that FM patients could only have pain in certain places of the body. However, new studies began to suggest that these patients are sensitive to painful stimuli throughout the body, not just in the locations identified by the ACR. Today, generalized pain is usually associated with Fibromyalgia.
Secondly, it quickly became evident that the patient’s sensitivity changed from day to day and from month to month. The result was that, depending on the day, the sum of the sensitive points could be below the 11 required by the ACR, while other times it was above. Moreover, patients did not always manifest pain in the four quadrants of the body. Some had pains on only one side of the body; others, only in the upper or lower halves of the body.
Causes of fibromyalgia
Although the cause of the FM syndrome is not currently known, research has helped to uncover important data. For example, FM syndrome often develops after physical trauma (an accident, injury or serious illness) that seems to act as a trigger in individuals prone to it. Such trauma can affect the central nervous system which in turn produces the disease we know as FM.
It was concluded that FM had a probability of occurring 13 times higher as a result of a neck injury than in the lower extremities. The first studies of Dr. Donalson’s research team in Calgary, Canada, suggest that in fibromyalgia patients the most potent electrical activity in the brain is found abnormally in the slower brain waves (EEG delay). Therefore, there are reasons to believe that significant physiological changes can occur in the body as a result of severe trauma, particularly when it occurs in the neck or upper body.
However, not all cases of fibromyalgia can be considered post-traumatic fibromyalgia, since it is often not possible to clearly identify the triggers.
The first investigations in search of the cause of FM were based on the study of possible defects or dysfunctions of muscles in FM patients. However, the hypothesis in this area has been disallowed since there is evidence that FM is caused by a central mechanism in the brain (for example, the central nervous system) and not by dysfunction in the muscles of the areas peripheral of the body.
According to Dr. Yunus, members of the fibromyalgia family share the following characteristics: they share symptoms of pain, fatigue, lack of sleep, predominance in women, carry a greater sensitivity to body pain, do not show any pathology in the classical medical sense (for example, inflammation, tissue degeneration), have the same predominance of psychological discomfort (anxiety, depression and stress) probably share a common genetic factor, everything can be explained on the basis of a common neuroendocrine dysfunction in the brain and spine (especially the levels of neurotransmitters and neuronal chemicals as well as the hormonal dysfunction of several endocrine glands.
Therapies that are recommended (among others):
Myofascial discharge: a technique developed by physiotherapist John Barnes, the myofascial discharge is a form of bodywork designed to alleviate the limitations and rigidities of the connective tissue (fascia). If carried out properly, the tightness of the connective tissue often decreases over the bones, with which the muscle fibers relax and spread and the organs dilate.
Trigger point therapy : a technique designed to break trigger points (hyperactive areas in muscles where the nervous system is excessively active). The therapist usually applies sustained pressure on the points.
EEG stimulation : is a very recent treatment that arises from the research of Dr. Stuart Donalson. It consists of “setting the time” the brain of the patient with fibromyalgia whose EEG “is delayed”. For this purpose, a diode is used that does not emit light, which is transmitted to the brain, extracting energy from the slower brain waves to the faster ones.
Physical rehabilitation …
Once the brain enters a new flexible state, it can begin with a neuromuscular re-education and this leads to a myofascial discharge.
Aerobic exercise ……
Stretching : Stretching is important because it helps relieve muscle tension and spasms.
Relaxation therapy : meditation, breathing exercises.
Cognitive or behavioral therapy : as trivial as it may seem, the attitude towards life says a lot about how well or bad a patient will manage with FM. Patients who do not actively assume their disease are the least likely to recover. Those people who adopt negative behaviors towards their illness are the ones that probably look with less help.
Common sense : people with FM can contribute significantly to their own treatment by learning as much as possible of their body’s reactions to FM. What things or activities aggravate the disease? How can you modify them?
Fibromyalgia is the syndrome of invisible disability, and it is considered a disease.
My other way of understanding fibromyalgia
I do not consider fibromyalgia a disease (although socially and for all the effects it is), but a warning or signal that something we are receiving and we ignore, we do not change our habits even if they harm us, we do not know how to interpret.
20 years suffering from fibromyalgia
Currently this lady comes every 3 or 4 weeks, the treatment includes Acupirámide with Rhombus and massage applying Acupressor, feels good, makes normal life without medication.
50 years suffering from pain
This lady arrives with great difficulty to carry out daily tasks, with the purification sessions, the Acupirámide, a proper diet and a vitamin complex, is improving day by day until a remarkable recovery.
Pilates teacher with fibromyalgia
Experiences obtained and reported by ZZ
Professor of the “PILATES” method, therapist and fibromyalgia sufferer.
Fibromyalgia, quality of life and the LOQI Acupressor
The first time I used your Acupressure, I felt a vibration inside my body that made me feel relax my muscles.