Causes and risk factors
Fibromyalgia is a very common cause of chronic pain. The disease affects about 2-5% of the population, with a clear prevalence among women, especially in the 20 to 55 age group.
Symptoms often appear during particularly stressful periods, both physically and mentally. In some cases, symptoms may be preceded by infectious events, such as common bacterial or viral infections, or physical or emotional trauma. Overall, it is estimated that about 40% of patients visiting specialist centers meet the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia.
Which are the symptoms?
In addition, patients with fibromyalgia can often have:
• tiredness, stiffness and feeling tired
• difficulty concentrating
• sleep disorders
• digestive disorders
• anxiety and depression
All of these symptoms usually worsen during periods of severe psychophysical stress.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based solely on the clinical symptoms reported by the patient and the results of a medical examination.
This diagnosis is generally based on a history of musculoskeletal pain that spreads throughout the body and is not localized enough that occurs during the day and persists for at least 3 months. The pain is usually exacerbated by the pressure of the fingers on specific points on the body (called trigger points).
How is it treated?
Currently, the treatments with the best results are based on the modulation of the nerve impulses responsible for the sensation of pain. The most effective drugs in this regard belong to the category of antidepressants and anticonvulsants. In addition, the benefits of these drugs are also that they act on any psychological symptoms and often associated sleep disturbances. However, drug therapy should be accompanied by cognitive interventions as well as physical therapy such as mild aerobic physical activity.