How does a person get fibromyalgia 2

Fibromyalgia Syndrome - when muscles and limbs are in constant pain

The illness

The Fibromyalgia syndrome (short: FMS) is a permanent disease for most of those affected. Literally translated means Fibromyalgia "Fiber Muscle Pain". Since this disease combines different complaints, it is called one syndrome.

About 2 in 100 people are affected by FMS, women more often than men. The symptoms usually occur between the ages of 40 and 60, less often in children, adolescents or senior citizens. The cause has not yet been clarified. It is assumed, however, that personal disposition, stressful life events, badly processed stress and overwork play a role.

Although the pain can be excruciating and stressful, FMS does not damage muscles, joints or organs. Life expectancy is normal.

What are the signs of FMS?

The three main symptoms are:

  • pain in several parts of the body for more than 3 months (neck, back or lower back pain and pain in the chest or abdomen and pain in both arms and legs),

  • Tiredness, exhaustion and sleep disorders or the feeling of not having had enough sleep.

The pain can be persistent, recurring, or wandering. They often increase with stress, wetness, cold and prolonged sitting or lying down. Many other symptoms can occur with FMS, for example:

  • Headache, painful muscle tension in the sternum, jaw or face

  • physical complaints such as menstrual pain, palpitations, breathing or gastrointestinal problems

  • Over-sensitivities, e.g. of the eyes, sensitivity to noise or smell

  • Difficulty concentrating or poor performance

  • Emotional complaints such as nervousness, inner restlessness, depression or feelings of fear

How is an FMS detected?

Your doctor will ask you in detail, for example about your personal circumstances, possible other illnesses or your medication.

He then examines you physically. Your doctor will usually do other tests, such as a blood test. This serves to rule out other diseases, such as joint inflammation or metabolic diseases. For this, further specialist examinations are sometimes important.

The treatment

The FMS is not curable. The aim is therefore to alleviate the symptoms. However, this seldom succeeds permanently and completely. Since the disease is different for everyone, the treatment depends on your personal complaints.

You can learn to cope better with your pain and impairment. In a patient training course you can learn a lot about your illness and receive practical advice on treatment and stress reduction.

Experts recommend light endurance training such as walking, swimming, or cycling several times a week. Gentle strength and functional training twice a week are also effective, for example (water) gymnastics in groups. It is important to move muscles and ligaments regularly without putting too much strain on them.

Mental comorbidities should be treated with psychotherapy. In addition, medication is sometimes helpful here. For example, some studies have shown that the medicine Amitriptyline can help. It can be used in low doses for a certain period of time. Common side effects are drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache. If this does not work, other drugs may be used in individual cases. Discuss this with your doctor.

If the disease progresses seriously, treatment in a pain clinic or psychosomatic clinic can help.

The following treatments often do not provide any relief and are therefore not recommended: most sleeping pills and pain relievers, injections into painful areas of the body, hormones such as cortisone and some physical procedures such as massage. Experts also advise against special operations that are supposed to cure an FMS.

What you can do yourself

  • You will probably not immediately notice any results from the treatment. It may take time for it to work.

  • Exercise is good for you. Since many exercises can be painful, you should start slowly and only increase cautiously. It's best to choose something that you enjoy.

  • It is advisable to observe yourself. To help you, you can write down your complaints in a diary. This is how you can find out whether a treatment is beneficial or not.

  • Try to stick to fixed bed times as much as possible. Rest periods in everyday life make sense.

  • You can learn to relax and manage stress. Relaxation exercises and meditative movement therapies such as tai-chi, qi-gong or yoga can have a supportive effect here.

  • You can share your experiences with other people affected, for example in a self-help group.