Like a pain that goes from head to toe. This is described by people with fibromyalgia, an unknown but common syndrome that affects up to 4.2% of women in Spain.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic and complex disease, characterized by widespread pain throughout the body and deep exhaustion. In addition, it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, headaches, dry mucous membranes, etc.
“This is a real disease that seriously affects the quality of life of the patient, even if until now it was under-diagnosed and under-treated,” says Dr. Enrique Ornilla, head of the Rheumatology Department at the University Clinic in London. Navarre.
Cases of fibromyalgia have been described that begin after specific processes, such as a bacterial or viral infection, a car accident, a separation from a couple, a problem with children …
In other cases, it appears after another disease limits the quality of life of the patient (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, …). “These triggers do not seem to cause the disease, but what they probably do is wake up. Although this is not yet known with certainty, it is possible that an abnormal response to stressors plays a very important role in this disease, “he explains.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made in patients with generalized musculoskeletal pain of several months of evolution in which other possible causes have been excluded. There is no standard treatment and this must be adapted to the characteristics of the patient. In addition, because many facets of the patient’s life are affected, it is essential to conduct a multidisciplinary treatment.
It is advisable to seek a change of mentality, both for the patient and those around him, by seeking a relaxed family environment free from constant demands. In addition, we must avoid factors aggravating the symptoms by adapting lifestyle and customs to the limitations that can cause pain and fatigue.
Thus, of all the measures that have been used in the treatment of fibromyalgia, physical exercise and adequate muscle strength are undoubtedly the most effective. Massages, muscle stretching exercises, local warmth and some types of electrotherapy (“currents”) can also be very helpful. Nevertheless, there are different treatments that improve the symptoms, such as injections, painkillers, analgesics, local anesthetics, among others.
“The future of treating this disease is promising, as research on fibromyalgia is progressing rapidly. It’s a matter of time that this progress translates into more effective treatments, “he concludes.