Risk Factors

6 months ago36 Views5 Min Read

Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

  • Your sex. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more often in women than in men.
  • 2-4% of the Adult population has Fibromyalgia in the USA.
  • Family history. You may be more likely to develop Fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition.
  • The Arthritis Association treats #1 Osteoarthritis and #2 Fibromyalgia.
  • If you have an autoimmune disease, you are more likely to acquire Fibromyalgia.
  • If you have lived with stress all your life such as any form of abuse, you are a candidate for Fibromyalgia.
  • If you survived a trauma such as a severe car accident, you could end up with Fibromyalgia.
  • If you have had a sickly childhood, poor nutrition, and any of the above you could discover you have Fibromyalgia.
  • The medical community is diagnosing more children with Fibromyalgia now than ever in the past, or at least it is being recognized now.
  • The good news is that both the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology recognize Fibromyalgia as a complex disease which involves the physical body, brain chemistry, mental function, and psycho- emotional health. This complex disease has so many signs and symptoms that aren’t focused on just pain and exhaustion.


The pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety.

Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome, a term that comes from “fibro” that indicates the fibrous tissues, such as tendons and ligaments) and “myalgia” (muscle pain) is a syndrome that affects the muscles, causing an increase in muscle tension: all muscles, from the scalp to the soles of the feet, are in constant tension. We talk about the syndrome since the same patient may have signs (what the doctor found the visit) and symptoms (what the patient reports). In the early 1900s it was considered an inflammatory disease of the muscles (fibrositis), while at the end of the 40s was excluded the presence of inflammation and was considered a psychological basis.

Although Fibromyalgia is mentioned in records 5,000 years ago, the modern concept of fibromyalgia, dates back to 1978, when two Canadian researchers, Hugh Smythe and Moldofky Harvey, who had used the term introduced in 1976 by ​​Hench, spoke of fibromyalgia to indicate the characteristic aspects of the syndrome, which is a multifactorial . CAUSES: The studies aimed to seek the cause of FM has highlighted a number of alterations in neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (substances of fundamental importance in intracellular communication). If we think of our body as a computer, in fibromyalgia devices they are intact and in gathering the information properly, but the data are interpreted incorrectly. One of the effects of the dysfunction of neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and norepinephrine, is the hyperactivity of the nervous system neurodegenerative, which involves a deficit of blood flow in the muscles, with onset of pain. Two features are widespread and persistent of FM: hyperalgesia (perception of severe pain in response to painful stimuli mild), allodynia (perception of pain in response to stimuli that are not normally painful).

RISK FACTORS: The trend of the symptoms varies according to a number of external factors: climatic factors (pain worse in the seasons passing, that in winter, spring, summer, and autumn and during periods of high humidity), environmental factors (time of life and cultural level can influence the course), hormonal factors (symptoms worsen in the premenstrual period, in case of thyroid dysfunction etc.), stressors (discussions, arguments, tensions at work and family), psychological factors (pessimistic, sometimes catastrophic, events in Newspapers, difficulty in maintaining control in your environment). The Fibromyalgia in Italy isnot recognized as disabling, but in other countries it is the single most frequent cause of requests for disability pensions: in the US, for example, 15% of Fibromyalgia receive disability compensation, and 25% are considered totally disabled). Symptoms are numerous: pain and hypersensitivity in many parts of the body, difficulty sleeping (waking up early in the morning), great fatigue, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety that often compromise the carrying out usual daily activities, occasional presence of palpable knots in the points aching, headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears or vibration), dry mouth, chills, bruxism (teeth gritted day and night), feel, while walking, to be tilting to one side, as if we wanted to push the person next to us, cervical (difficult to stretch the head, which can cause nausea), difficulty expressing themselves and communicating, to go up or down stairs, to raise or lower the arms, nerves on edge, alternating diarrhea and constipation, inaccuracies (eg. when hitting a ball), hypersensitivity (light, odors, noise, sound environment etc.), all senses are involved. 

DIAGNOSIS: The diagnosis is usually delayed and takes place after numerous tests, that is often centered on exclusion. History is a key to the diagnostic approach, asking the patient type, features and duration of pain, if found limitations in daily activities, if the pain is accompanied by a feeling of exhaustion, fatigue, weakness etc. This must be widespread pain that has the following characteristics (although not necessarily simultaneously): should cover both sides of the body, it must localize in at least 11 of the 18 areas algogenic (called tender points). It is symmetrical and precise points that respond to finger pressure. The pain usually has to have been 3 months in duration. Laboratory tests are used to rule out or identify a disease superimposed (blood count, ESR, RA test, ALT, AST, C-reactive protein, hyperuricaemia, several Thyroid tests, Lupus, Lyme's Disease, . Only in case of clinical suspicion, it should be sought for antinuclear antibodies . Completely negative, in fibromyalgia, imaging techniques that can only help rule out the syndrome, suggesting other possibilities (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and so on.) MRI to rule out Parkinson's Disease and MS as well. Once these tests have been done and everything has been ruled out, a physical exam has been done, and a consultation with the patient has been completed can a diagnosis be made.

DRUG TREATMENT AND NOT: There are several drugs used in the treatment of FM: analgesics to reduce the stiffness and pain associated with it, antidepressants, muscle relaxants. There are interdisciplinary programs that include relaxation techniques and information on chronic pain and can therefore effectively improve the symptoms and relieve pain. Patients must also take care of themselves, reducing stress, avoiding any undue stress or emotional stress, getting enough sleep, doing appropriate exercises (swimming, walking, water aerobics, horse riding and cycling); devoted to yoga and meditation, practicing acupuncture or chiropractic treatments that use  stretching and massage techniques). Massage therapy is based on the manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles to improve blood circulation and increase the flow of nutrients to the muscles.

Deb Lundquist

After 20 years of living with this as a roommate, I feel I know Fibromyalgia well. Now, it is my passion to help people with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain take back control of their lives.