Fibromyalgia - Overview
Fibromyalgia is a medical syndrome that causes widespread pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints as well as sleeps problems and chronic daytime fatigue.
The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any body part can be involved.
Who gets Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia at present affects over five million people in the United States and millions more worldwide. It causes chronic pain and unbearable tiredness, along with a host of other symptoms.
Anyone can get fibromyalgia, including men and women, children and the elderly. However, certain people are at greater risk of developing fibromyalgia than others.
What is the relationship between sleep and Fibromyalgia?
People with fibromyalgia tend to have poor quality sleep. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to lack normal amounts of slow wave sleep (stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, also called delta sleep). These stages are the deepest, soundest stages of sleep.
They have been felt important for the restoration of the body during sleep. The people will be in stage 1 and stage 2 sleeps always and they remember everything whatever is happening around them.
If one deprives of slow wave sleep, they develop fibromyalgia symptoms. The more pain, the poorer the sleep quality, with less stage 3 and 4 sleep, which then makes the pain even worse.
Seep apnea is found in 80% of fibromyalgia victims. Sleep apnea fragments sleep, thereby reducing slow wave sleep. Sleep apnea is extremely common, potentially serious if severe, with such complications as heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and sleep-related highway crashes.
Fibromyalgia patients experience a series of fibromyalgia symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane over time. For people with fibro myalgia, the combination of pain and sleep disturbance is a double-edged sword: the pain makes sleep more hard and sleep deprivation exacerbates pain.
The good news is that reduction in sleep disturbance is usually followed by improvement in pain symptoms. This also highlights the importance of healthy sleep and access to sleep specialists in treating this disease.
The causes of fibromyalgia are not known but there may be several factors involved. Clinicians who care for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome report a range of possible causes such as repetitive stress injuries, automobile accidents or other traumatic events.
Fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatoid condition, but it is not truly a form of arthritis. However, people with arthritis are more likely to have fibromyalgia.
There may also be an association between fibromyalgia and restless legs syndrome (RLS), a neurological sensorimotor disorder characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest.
RLS is more general among patients with fibro myalgia and those with rheumatoid arthritis than among people who don't have these conditions. An awareness of this association will help doctors look for and manage RLS symptoms among patients with fibromyalgia.
There are a variety of conditions that could lead to widespread pain and chronic fatigue. However, fibromyalgia typically also includes cognitive difficulties and psychological distress and a complaint of fatigue that is devastating, unexplained, and unrelieved by rest.
It is possible to experience symptoms similar to fibromyalgia symptoms if a person is suffering from sleep apnea. In addition, people with fibromyalgia may also suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep-disordered breathing.
Before looking for medical intervention for fibromyalgia, keeping a sleep diary as well as a sleepiness diary is recommended.