For a long time, fibromyalgia was not considered a disease in its own right, because of the difficulties encountered in establishing a clear diagnosis of this strange, inflammatory and so painful pathology.
Fortunately, today people suffering from fibromyalgia are taken seriously, and the latest advances in the field have taught us much more about this disease which still affects between 2% and 3% of the population.
Some figures on fibromyalgia: 90% of patients are under 60, and most are women (+ 70%). 1
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal and joint pain.
These pains are usually accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory and mood.
Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies pain sensations by affecting how the brain and spinal cord process pain and non-pain signals.
The pain is sometimes described as resembling strong, almost permanent aches, with regular pain peaks.
Symptoms often appear after an event , such as physical or psychological trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress.
In other cases, symptoms accumulate gradually over time without there seeming to be a single triggering event.
Data shows that women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders, colon problems , anxiety, and depression.
|The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the junction between the lower jaw and the temporal cavity located in front of the ear. 2|
What are the causes ?
The causes of fibromyalgia are currently unclear , although the latest advances in science seem to point in a particular direction…
A possible autoimmune disease
A study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation 3 suggests that many fibromyalgia symptoms are caused by antibodies that increase nerve activity sensitive to pain throughout the body.
According to the results, these antibodies appear to be responsible for the increased sensitivity to pain, pressure and cold that is characteristic of fibromyalgia, as well as the muscle weakness , reduced movement and fatigue also observed. in this disease.
"The implications of this study are profound. Establishing that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder will transform the way we think about this disease and should pave the way for more effective treatments for the millions of people who live with it. “, said David Andersson, PhD, principal investigator of the study. “Our work has highlighted a whole new area of treatment options and should give real hope to fibromyalgia patients.”
How does the disease develop?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease , the symptoms of which worsen to a certain point, before stabilizing.
It is therefore not a disease leading to paralysis or death, like multiple sclerosis.
Over time, some people even see their symptoms diminish after their 60s.
Treatments and care?
Although there is no definitive cure for fibromyalgia , various medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress reduction measures can also be helpful.
Certain natural products enriched with plant extracts may also prove beneficial. Spa treatments can also help relieve during crises.
A team of researchers from King's College London, University of Liverpool and Karolinska Institute 4 injected mice with antibodies (immunoglobulin G) from people with fibromyalgia and saw the mice develop symptoms of the disease.
The mice became very sensitive to pain and cold, their grip strength decreased and they became more lethargic.
Mice injected with immunoglobulin G from people without fibromyalgia or serum from people with fibromyalgia without antibodies 2 showed no such symptoms.
These results suggest that therapies that reduce antibody levels in patients with fibromyalgia could be used to create effective treatments.
As you will have understood, fibromyalgia is far from having revealed all its secrets, both concerning its causes, its effects and its treatments.
As always, science seeks and advances in small steps, and for a fibromyalgia patient, a small step is sometimes a big step forward in terms of comfort.