Fibromyalgia is not a disease nor a chronic condition. Instead, it is a syndrome that is characterized by musculoskeletal pain that can be scattered throughout the body. General pain and tenderness in specific areas are experienced by most patients suffering from Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia may be experienced alone or in conjunction with other rheumatic disorders, such as Arthritis or Lupus. The most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia are aching and stiffness in areas around the shoulders, neck, and around the spine. Areas of the spine that are most affected include the upper back, lower back, and hip region.
Who Is Affected?
Anyone can be affected by fibromyalgia, but this syndrome is more common in women than in men. In fact, of the estimated 3% to 4% of adults who have Fibromyalgia, 80% to 90% are females between the ages of 40 and 75. The symptoms associated with this syndrome also tend to be significantly more severe in women than in men. Individuals who are otherwise young and in good health can experience Fibromyalgia.
What Is The Cause?
The cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown. While Fibromyalgia does tend to run in families, a gene for this syndrome has not been identified. What we do know is that when an individual has Fibromyalgia, the brain creates an overreaction to pain signals. In turn, intense pain can be randomly felt throughout different areas of the body. Why this overreaction occurs and what sets off this syndrome is still not completely understood. In some cases, it seems as though this syndrome has been linked to excessive stress, a traumatic event, various injuries, illness, or even another disease.
The Good News
If you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, do not lose hope. The good news about this syndrome is that it is NOT a degenerative condition or chronic disease. In fact, a patient’s symptoms may very well improve with treatment. Symptoms may also come and go and never get worse. Further, Fibromyalgia does NOT damage your muscles or joints. While those suffering from Fibromyalgia will many times identify their tender points as being near the joints, inflammation does not play a large role in this condition.
Get Diagnosed & Treated
If you suspect that your spine-related pain may be due to Fibromyalgia, we encourage you to make an appointment with us here at the Stridewell Clinic. Our Spine Specialists will spend as much time as necessary to understand your health history, your symptoms, and make an accurate diagnosis. We will then make all necessary referrals and get you on the right path towards finding relief. Often times, a care team made up of a primary physician, rheumatologist, physical therapist, neurologist, pain specialist, and either psychologist or psychiatrist may be recommended. However, symptoms do vary widely from one person to another, so our treatment plans are custom-tailored based on the very specific and unique needs of our patient.
Related: Facet Joint Syndrome
Don’t get bounced around from one practice to another without truly understanding your diagnosis and all treatment options. At our Spine Clinic, we offer highly efficient and effective care. You will leave our practice with a same-day diagnosis and treatment plan. Stridewell Tipsread article