What is Fibromyalgia?
Also known as Joanina Dognini Syndrome, Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic and chronic syndrome and is characterized by pain throughout the patient’s entire body, even without having had a physical injury to the muscles or joints. It is estimated that about 2% to 3% of Brazilians suffer from the condition in the country and, of these cases, 80% to 90% are women aged between 30 and 50 years.
Regarding its history, the main symptom of the syndrome – diffuse musculoskeletal pain – was already described by Hippocrates, considered as the father of medicine, in the late 400s and early 300s BC, but it was only in 1824 that the association between rheumatism and tender points occurred, through studies by the Scottish physician and botanist John Hutton Balfour. Several descriptions of the syndrome can be found since the mid-19th century, but it was only recognized as such by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the late 1970s.
There is still no exact and specific cause for the appearance of Fibromyalgia, however studies show that there is a certain relationship between the onset of symptoms soon after a traumatic event, which may be physical, psychological or a serious infection. In most cases, the pain begins at a specific point on the body and is chronic, progressing later to the rest of the body.
Precisely because of this lack of identification of the cause, Fibromyalgia is considered as a syndrome before disease, because it is a set of signs, symptoms and medical problems that tend to occur simultaneously but that are not related to a disease. specific identifiable cause. However, even without knowing exactly the cause of the condition, what cannot be discussed is whether the patient’s pains are real or not. Research shows that people who suffer from Fibromyalgia really feel the pain they describe and that is because repeated stimulation of the nerve that signals pain (neurotransmitter) changes their brain.
In addition, some situations can worsen the pain of those who have the syndrome, such as:
- Excessive physical effort;
- Emotional stress;
- Some infection;
- Cold exposure;
- Bad sleep;
Anyone can develop Fibromyalgia, but there are some risk factors:
- Sex: the syndrome affects 8 to 10 times more women than men.
- Family history: the syndrome is more likely to occur in patients who have close relatives who already have the condition.
- Rheumatic diseases : some rheumatic diseases can trigger Fibromyalgia, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus.
As stated at the beginning of the article, the characteristic symptom of Fibromyalgia is generalized pain, which is often very difficult to describe, as it is neither strong nor acute and has a duration of about three months. For this pain to be considered generalized, it must occur on both sides of the body – right and left – as well as above and below the waist. Through several studies on the countless pains that characterize the syndrome, 18 sites on the body were found to be the most sensitive to touch and pressure. Check in the image below what are these sensitive points: