Muscle pain is one of the foremost symptoms of fibromyalgia. Aches, pain, and stiffness often contribute to increased fatigue and even disability in many fibromyalgia sufferers. Numerous fibromyalgia sufferers find that they have trouble remaining active due to a decreased range of motion and persistent muscle pain. A number of researchers have theorized that muscle trauma and injury may actually play a role in causing fibromyalgia. Doctors who treat large numbers of fibromyalgia patients report that the majority of patients say that their fibromyalgia was caused by an injury – a fact that corroborates the research.
Microtrauma to Muscles
Unfortunately, muscle injuries can be caused by pretty much anything. From car accidents to aggressive exercise routines, muscle injuries are experienced by almost everyone at some point in their lives. Most muscle injuries make themselves known fairly soon after trauma, however, some injuries remain dormant.
There is a typical history for people who develop fibromyalgia after a trauma. The primary complaint reported is usually serious pain in the neck, shoulders and back area. Often the people had no previous issues with ongoing pain prior to the trauma. Shortly after the accident or trauma, the pain set in and never went away. X-rays, evaluations, pain medications, and other medical treatments may help for a time but the pain continues to be as severe as it was initially.
Muscle microtrauma tends to remain undetected by most sufferers. Sometimes, trauma incurred through exercise or car accidents can hit the tiny muscles and nerves inside your body. These tiny muscles can become torn, eventually contributing to the formation of trigger points around the body.
Tender points, or trigger points, are areas in the soft tissues, especially the muscles, which are very sensitive and painful when pressed. Because they are in distinct locations in the body, their presence is the main criteria used to diagnose fibromyalgia. Generalized fibromyalgia is diagnosed when there are widespread tender points in many distinct locations. Localized or regional fibromyalgia is, as its name implies, localized into one specific area on the body – the back, upper body, low back, etc. Typically, people who have what is termed post-traumatic fibromyalgia will have abnormal tightness or nodes with localized spasms that can be felt by touch.
After a muscle injury, your first impulse may be to lie down and give your muscles a break. While this may seem helpful, it can actually lead to further pain; it could even cause you to develop the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. Muscles need to be exercised in order to maintain tone and condition.
If allowed to rest for lengthy periods of time, muscles lose their strength and tone, becoming very weak. As a result, when you resume exercise, muscles can spasm, becoming tight and congested.
Oxygen, nutrients, and waste materials can then become trapped in these muscles, increasing the amount of pain that you feel. In this way, muscle injuries are thought to contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms.
Central Nervous System Injury
Central nervous system injury also seems to be linked to fibromyalgia. Your central nervous system, which is made up of your brain and spinal column, can become easily injured by accidents, stress, or infection. Injury to the central nervous system can interfere with the release of neurotransmitters and hormones, as well as blood flow, causing serious pain and other symptoms.
A recent study analyzed the occurrence of fibromyalgia symptoms in people experiencing neck trauma. It was found that people with neck injuries are 13 times more likely to develop fibromyalgia than those without such injuries.
Central nervous system injury can also interfere with your brainwave patterns. Brainwaves are electrical patterns that represent your brain’s activities. There are four major types of brainwaves, and each is involved in different processes. Injury can sometimes interfere with your brainwaves, causing sleep disorders, fibrofog, and other fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia syndrome has many sufferers of all ages and backgrounds. Fibromyalgia does affect women more than men, especially during the childbearing years. More than 80% of fibromyalgia sufferers are women, however, some men do have the condition.
What has become alarming is that small children are also affected with a condition called Juvenile or Pediatric Fibromyalgia. While diagnosing FM in children is much more difficult than diagnosing and adult, since the symptoms appear very gradually and children tend to be inconsistent in describing their symptoms – nevertheless, the pain and challenges are not unlike adult symptoms.
Fibro in seniors
On the other end of the spectrum, seniors have the added challenge of FM pain to add to their existing health issues. Since they are probably already dealing with some conditions that appear similar, diagnosing FM in seniors can be a lengthy process.