What’s it?

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic diffuse muscle or tendon pain at tender points of specific anatomic localization.

What are the main symptoms?

The symptoms are general pain and one or two of the following:

easy fatigability
superficial and non-restorative sleep (the individual wakes up more tired than when he/she went to bed)
psychic depression
numb hands and feet
abdominal pain with constipation periods intercalated with diarrhea

In no moment will inflammation or deformity occur in the joints, and motions aren’t limited.

Characteristically, fibromyalgia sufferers experience the symptoms for years without significant changes. The problems are pain and fatigue.

How does it develop?

The cause and mechanisms that elicit fibromyalgia haven’t been completely elucidated. There’s no sound evidence that it can be transmitted, nor has higher prevalence been observed in relatives.

A reduction in serotonin and other neurotransmitters cause a greater sensitivity to painful stimuli and may be involved in the reduction in blood flow that occurs in the muscles and superficial tissues as found in fibromyalgia.

What’s the best form of treatment?

For treatment, analgesics must be used; there seems to be no advantage in using anti-inflammatory agents or cortisone on a permanent basis.

Tricyclic antidepressants are obligatory drugs (especially amitriptyline and cyclobenzaprine), which have an effect on serotonin in the brain and have an analgesic effect on the central nervous system.

Muscle conditioning oriented by experts in the disease and its understanding by the patients are indispensable. Patients with more intense psychiatric manifestations must be given specialized care.

Questions you can ask your doctor about:

Is there another associated disease?

What’s the treatment goal?

Is the treatment this prescription only or should I repeat it?

Does it interfere with other medications I’m taking?

What are the side effects?

Does obesity pose problems?

What’s the importance of exercises?

What measures should I take in my daily, professional and leisure habits?