For a long time fibromyalgia was not considered a disease in its own right, due to the difficulties encountered in establishing a clear diagnosis of this strange and painful inflammatory pathology.
Fortunately, today, fibromyalgia sufferers are taken seriously, and the latest advances in the field have taught us a great deal more about this disease, which affects between 2% to 3% of the population.
A few figures on fibromyalgia: 90% of patients are under 60, and most are women (over 70%).1
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal and joint pain.
These pains are generally accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood disorders.
Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals.
Pain is sometimes described as resembling strong, almost permanent aches and pains, with regular peaks.
Symptoms often appear after an eventsuch as physical or psychological trauma, surgery, infection or severe psychological stress.
In other cases, symptoms accumulate progressively over time without there appearing to be any single triggering event.
Data show that women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from headaches and temporomandibular joint disorders, problems with colonanxiety and depression.
|The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the junction between the lower jaw and the temporal cavity in front of the ear.2|
What causes TMJ?
The causes of fibromyalgia are unclear at present, although the latest scientific advances 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 the activity of pain-sensitive nerves throughout the body.
According to the results, these antibodies appear to be at the root of the increased sensitivity to pain, pressure and cold characteristic of fibromyalgia, as well as of the muscle weaknessmuscle weakness, reduced movement and fatigue.
"The implications of this study are profound. Establishing that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder will transform the way we look at this disease and should pave the way for more effective treatments for the millions of people who suffer from it," said David Andersson, PhD, lead investigator of the study. "Our work has highlighted a whole new area of therapeutic options and should give real hope to fibromyalgia patients."
How does the disease develop?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic diseasesymptoms worsen to a certain extent, before stabilizing.
It is not, therefore, a disease leading to paralysis or death, like multiple sclerosis.
Over time, some people even see their symptoms diminish in their sixties.
Treatment and care?
Although there is no no definitive cure for fibromyalgiavarious medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress reduction measures can also help.
Some natural products enriched with plant extracts can also be beneficial. Thermal cures can also help relieve attacks.
A team of researchers from King's College London, the University of Liverpool and the Karolinska Institute4 injected mice with antibodies (immunoglobulin G) derived from fibromyalgia sufferers, and saw the mice develop symptoms of the disease.
The mice became highly sensitive to pain and cold, their grip strength diminished and they became more lethargic.
Mice injected with immunoglobulin G from people without fibromyalgia or serum from fibromyalgia sufferers without antibodies2 did not show such symptoms.
These results suggest thattherapies that reduce antibody levels in fibromyalgia patients could be used to create effective treatments.
As you can see, fibromyalgia is far from having revealed all its secrets, in terms of its causes, effects and treatments.
As always, science seeks and advances in small steps, and for a fibromyalgia sufferer, a small advance can sometimes mean a great deal. a big advance in terms of comfort.