Fibromyalgia Neck Pain
Fibromyalgia, formerly known as fibrositis, is a condition that leads sufferers to experience chronic pain in their muscles and ligaments. It is increasingly prevalent, perhaps through better diagnosis and recognition of the disease, and affects approximately 2% of people in the US, and 1% in the UK, although population differences may be due to under-reporting of the condition. Fibromyalgia primarily affects women in their mid-30s to late 50s although men, the elderly, and children may also be affected. The condition is linked to abnormal pain responses by the body which prevent the muscles from relaxing properly and lead to fatigue, poor sleep, depression, and issues with concentration and memory. Headaches, dizziness, nervousness, numbness, and digestive problems are also common symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Recognition of Fibromyalgia
For many years the disease has been overlooked, discredited, and dismissed by many, including some in the medical profession. Now that there are working theories on the mechanism behind the disorder, it is beginning to be more widely recognized and patients are more likely to receive assistance with the condition. It appears that fibromyalgia sufferers have higher levels of a chemical called substance P in the cerebrospinal fluid. Substance P transmits pain impulses to the brain, and the higher levels lead to more intense and chronic pain in fibromyalgia.
CFS, Fibromyalgia, and Sleep
The condition is also connected to lack of deep sleep and its restorative capacity. This may be an independent aspect of the disease or may itself be caused by chronic pain leading to disturbed and shallow sleep patterns. On waking the pain is often excruciating, and is generally felt in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. In some it can cause problems with walking, and with most patients it prevents them from engaging in normal activities due to the pain and fatigue. Some physicians suspect that chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are actually the same disease as they symptoms coincide and overlap in a large number of cases.
Fibromyalgia - Recent Research
More recent research indicates that exercise is often the best way to treat fibromyalgia, although studies also continue into new medications, such as cyclobenzaprine for fibromyalgia to reduce the chronic pain associated with the disease. Fibromyalgia and neck pain may also be connected through stress and so stress-relief techniques can ameliorate symptoms. It is not the case, however, that simply telling a patient to avoid stress will reduce their fibromyalgia and neck pain symptoms; the opposite may in fact be true as patients then believe themselves to blame for their suffering.
Last Updated: 06/05/2012