Fibromyalgia is a chronic and debilitating condition that results in severe pain to muscles and surrounding tissues. The disease is not inflammatory and is not associated with degenerative musculoskeletal disorders. The cause of the condition is unknown and it is exacerbated by overexertion, cold weather and hormonal changes such as premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Stress, anxiety and depression are also aggravating factors.
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia syndrome include severe pain, joint tenderness, morning stiffness, fatigue and insomnia. Some somatic syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome, severe chronic headache and temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome as well as multiple chemical sensitivity syndromes are associated with the disease. In addition, there is close association with mitral valve prolapsed, restless leg syndrome, lupus, generalized anxiety, arthritis and autonomic nervous system disorders. Patients who suffer from this condition have poor concentration, poor immediate recall and decreased multi-tasking ability. There is regional myofascial pain that mimics tendonitis and is an aggravating factor for symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
There has been new evidence suggesting that Fibromyalgia should not be associated with pain. It is a disease of the nervous system with hypersensitivity to stimuli from the periphery. Research has shown that sensory input from muscle is a more potent effector of CNS sensitization. As a result, there is larger and longer amplitude and impact of pain signals on the pon receptor sites at the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. This mechanism is the opposite to the reaction of a cut in the skin.
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that can alter people’s lives; leading to disability, inability to cope, alteration of perception and poor self worth. There is a feeling of lack of productivity in society and incapability in functioning effectively as a productive member of the family. Physicians normally have a difficult time making an accurate diagnosis of this condition and might not find any clinical evidence of physiological illness. Most times they think the condition is psychogenic.
Patients who have a strong support system suffers less emotional trauma but still experience pain. Those without strong support experience more emotional suffering and pain. They tend to become withdrawn and prone to stress easily. Pharmacological intervention is normally challenging due to multiple drug sensitivity. The patients are intolerable to physical therapy and remobilization therapy and are poor candidate for surgery due to their emotional labile state. There is more fear about the effects of surgery instead of appreciating the benefits the procedure has to offer. For example, they would worry about their pain getting worst after surgery instead of regaining the use of their limb through effective intervention.