I commuted over 40 miles to work in an earlier life. There was a medical program on the radio that I listened to most of the time. I remember the doctor discussing fibromyalgia. At that time, one thing that stood out in my mind was his comment, ‘when doctors cannot diagnose certain symptoms, they group it generically under the term fibromyalgia.’
I thought that was a bit unusual. If you cannot diagnose something, then blame it on a generic condition. I know a few people who have had fibromyalgia over the years – not many. I have never researched it until this morning.
https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia. It is a chronic medical condition with symptoms of extensive pain in the muscles and bones, general fatigue, tenderness to touch in specific areas of the body, sleep disruptions, and cognitive disorders. Doctors find it difficult to understand and diagnose since many of the symptoms mimic other medical conditions. Fibromyalgia is misdiagnosed many times.
Diagnosis and Treatment
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354785. Previously, physicians would check eighteen specific points on the body to determine how many were painful when pressed. The latest guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology do not require tender point examination.
When a patient has pain in four out of five areas – left upper region (shoulder, arm, or jaw), right upper region, left lower region (hip, buttock, or leg), right lower region, and the axial region (neck, back, chest, or abdomen) – a preliminary diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be factored into a final diagnosis.
Testing may be done to rule out other diseases – complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, cyclic citrullinated peptide, rheumatoid factor, thyroid function tests, antinuclear antibody, celiac serology, and vitamin D.
Treating fibromyalgia can be difficult because not every patient responds to the same treatment. No single treatment or medicine treats all symptoms. Pain relievers are recommended for pain. Sometimes, antidepressants are prescribed for pain or muscle relaxation. A few anti-seizure drugs have been effective in treating pain.
Physical therapy helps some patients improve strength, flexibility, and stamina. However, frustration and stress occur when pain prevents them from simple tasks that they used to perform easily. Occupational therapy is effective in those situations. In addition, stress counseling has been found to help.
Lifestyle treatments are mostly self-care – stress management, sleep hygiene, exercise, healthy food choices, reduction in smoking and caffeine, etc. In addition, some people respond well to acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, martial arts training (tai chi, slow movement, deep breathing), and yoga.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/fibromyalgia-more-evidence-of-links-to-immune-system. Medical science does not have a specific cause of fibromyalgia. Some newer thinking is focused on the autoimmune system. Medical observers noticed that people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis tend to have a higher frequency of contracting fibromyalgia than others.
Since both those diseases are autoimmune, the thinking is that fibromyalgia might also be an autoimmune disease. However, there is no evidence to this observation, just speculation currently. An autoimmune disease happens for many reasons, and over one hundred diseases are classified as autoimmune (https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/).
Since pain sensation is increased in fibromyalgia, antibodies appear to increase that sensitivity. Scientists took antibodies from fibromyalgia patients and injected them into laboratory animals with antibodies from patients with fibromyalgia. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/144201
They were surprised that the animals became more sensitive to unpleasant stimuli. Additionally, the animals tended to move less and became weaker overall. One additional test was added to see how laboratory animals responded to antibodies from people without fibromyalgia. There were no noticeable effects noted from that series of tests.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532291/. Medical researchers discovered that the antibodies attached to the dorsal root ganglia – bundles of sensory relay neurons connecting the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This discovery opens the door for new types of treatment.
Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease? They do not know – yet. However, new treatment techniques and strategies are now on the table to explore. One of the first questions to solve is what creates pain-causing antibodies. Can drugs prevent the attachment of the antibodies to the dorsal root ganglia? Can these antibodies be used as a biomarker for fibromyalgia? Are other treatments used for autoimmune diseases effective in treating fibromyalgia?
The laboratory animals recovered completely about three weeks after the antibody injections were given. This indicates that the presence of the pain-causing antibodies directly contributes to pain sensation and other fibromyalgia symptoms. So, remove the antibodies, and you might remove the symptoms!
Further testing to confirm and increase treatment options is needed. Fibromyalgia exhibits many different symptoms. Will an antibody treatment also address fatigue, sleep, and cognitive issues?
Life Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com
Great article. I’d seen a few reports suggesting fibromyalgia is often preceded by a traumatic incident, as though the brain and body are still trying to process the event. Emotional pressure and stress are more commonly linked to back, neck and head pains. So, this leaves me wondering whether true resolution of the trauma (not just acceptance or repression) could help with the physical pains. Have you seen much along these lines?
Expectations power the subconscious mind which controls everything we do. People who expect to walk after an injury that leaves them paralyzed often succeed. When people give up, they succeed in that direction also. I believe we should treat the cause of a problem, but many in the medical profession do not know the cause and treat symptoms only. Our mind is a powerful tool to use for healing – why not use it also?
Thanks for sharing this authentic piece of information here. Some diseases are just present in this world and people are suffering from them