Like a pain that goes from the feet to the head. This is described by people with fibromyalgia , an unknown but frequent syndrome, which in Spain suffer up to 4.2% of women.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic and complex disease, with widespread pains throughout the body and deep exhaustion. In addition, it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, headache, dry mucous membranes, etc.
“It is a real illness, which seriously affects the quality of life of the patient, although until now it was underdiagnosed and undertreated,” says Dr. Enrique Ornilla, head of the Rheumatology Service of the University Clinic of Navarra .
Cases of fibromyalgia have been described that begin after specific processes, such as a bacterial or viral infection, a car accident, marital separation, a problem with children …
In other cases it appears after another disease limits the quality of life of the patient (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus …). “These triggering agents do not seem to cause the disease, but what they probably do is awaken it. Although it is not yet known with certainty, it is possible that an abnormal response to the factors that produce stress plays a very important role in this disease, “he explains.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made in those patients with a generalized musculoskeletal pain of several months of evolution in which other possible causes of it have been excluded. There is no standard treatment and this must be adapted to the characteristics of the patient. In addition, since many facets of the patient’s life are affected, it is essential to carry out a multidisciplinary treatment.
It is advisable to seek a change of mentality, both in the patient and those around him, seeking a relaxed family environment and free of constant demands. In addition, we must avoid the factors that aggravate the symptoms adapting the habits of life and customs to the limitations that may cause pain and fatigue.
Thus, of all the measures that have been used in the treatment of fibromyalgia, physical exercise and adequate muscular strength are undoubtedly the most effective. Massages, muscle stretching exercises, local heat and some types of electrotherapy (“currents”) can also be very useful. Even so, there are different treatments that improve symptoms, such as injections, painkillers, analgesics, local anesthetics, among many others.
“The future of the treatment of this disease is hopeful, since research on fibromyalgia is progressing rapidly. It is a question of time that these advances translate into more effective treatments, “he concludes.