Fact Checked

The Truth About Fibromyalgia: What Exactly Is Fibromyalgia?

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • A person with fibromyalgia experiences severe musculoskeletal and multisite pain in at least four tender parts of the body. The pain continues for over three months.
  • Some tender points and trigger points include the back of the head, upper chest, above and below the waist, knees, top of shoulders, shoulder blades, inner elbows, and hips.
  • Fibromyalgia pain grips both joints(arthralgia) and muscles(myalgia) almost in the whole body.
  • The Covid pandemic has contributed to a 16% rise in Alzheimer's and dementia death, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
  • It's unknown what specifically causes fibromyalgia. However, genes, infections, old age, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, stress, and trauma are possible causes.
  • Some specialized massage techniques, stress reduction, physical exercise, medications, and trigger point therapy may help temper fibromyalgia pain and manage many symptoms.

Introduction

Fibromyalgia causes prolonged widespread pain all over the body's tender and trigger points. Again, it is also associated with sleep problems, general tiredness, depression, cognitive confusion, face pain, and emotional instability. Statistics show that fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults (2% of the adult population).

Unfortunately, the real cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. But genetic disposition, trauma, injuries, lupus, and stress are some known risk factors. So, is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease? Interestingly, despite fibromyalgia displaying symptoms of most autoimmune conditions, it is still not included among autoimmune disorders.

What Is An Autoimmune Disease?

 An autoimmune disease is a condition where the body erroneously produces antibodies to fight imaginary enemies or diseases. The immune system sends fighter cells (antibodies) to kick out the perceived foreign bodies thinking they are bacteria and viruses. Then, the body produces antibodies that destroy healthy cells at the site of fighting.

In essence, the body attacks itself by mistake, causing more problems. Some autoimmune disease symptoms that result include Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, vasculitis, and multiple sclerosis.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a disorder associated with widespread pain in most muscles and joints. Other traditional names for fibromyalgia are fibrositis, rheumatism, or muscular rheumatism. Scientists aren’t sure what causes fibromyalgia. The pain may affect several body parts like the head, shoulders, knees, hips, face, waist, and jaws. Since fibromyalgia symptoms resemble other chronic pain diseases like arthritis, it takes time to diagnose the disease.

Sadly, people who suffer from severe fibromyalgia symptoms struggle to perform daily tasks leading to untold suffering. Researchers still ask the question: “Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease?”

Unfortunately, this condition aggravates the symptoms causing sleep problems, fatigue, headaches, disorientation, chronic pain, and stress. Also, it doesn’t have an instant cure, making the victims even more depressed as the brain senses more pain levels, and pain continues unabated.

Is Fibromyalgia An Autoimmune Disease?

The symptoms of autoimmune disease[1] and fibromyalgia are similar. Research shows a relationship between autoimmune disorders and fibromyalgia conditions. But, save for some similar symptoms, fibromyalgia is quite different. So, is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease? For one, fibromyalgia doesn’t damage the surrounding tissues.

It doesn’t cause any inflammation. Also, fibromyalgia never produces antibodies like autoimmune disorders. Nevertheless, fibromyalgia sometimes occurs concurrently with some autoimmune diseases.

This makes the patients and experts even more confused. Indeed, before most doctors make a fibromyalgia diagnosis, they quickly start treating fibromyalgia with autoimmune disease symptoms in mind. Later, when a patient doesn’t improve, they think of fibromyalgia, when pain persists longer.

Perhaps, the lack of a clear distinction about what causes fibromyalgia in the first place makes it harder to diagnose and treat. Only more research will unravel the role autoimmunity plays in the development of fibromyalgia.

Moreover, whether there will be overwhelming evidence to classify it as an autoimmune disorder. Until then, and until doctors discover its causes, fibromyalgia will remain outside the class of autoimmune diseases.

Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia Trigger Points
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when you experience widespread pain or a dull ache in various tender points of the body. According to the 2016 criteria [2] for a fibromyalgia diagnosis, you have the condition if:

  • You get generalized pain in at least 4 of the 5 tender regions of the body
  • You have experienced the pain at a similar level for at least 3 months
  • There is a high widespread pain and severity index

Regardless of other diagnoses, such diagnoses of fibromyalgia are valid. You also need to be examined for other similar or related ailments even after you have been diagnosed.

Other common fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • A sleepy feeling even after sleeping for a long time
  • Joint and jaw pains (“temporomandibular joint syndrome”)
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Widespread pain and pressure
  • Lower belly pain
  • Bladder issues
  • A continuous feeling of fatigue
  • Eye dryness
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression and anxiety
  • A hazy feeling, mental or cognitive imbalances called fibromyalgia fog (fibro fog or brain fog). Fibro fog has signs like restlessness, being inattentive, and memory lapses

Possible Causes Of Fibromyalgia 

It’s not known what causes fibromyalgia. It remains a matter of assumption on the possible causes of the disease. However, for lack of a particular condition that causes fibromyalgia, medics attribute this disease to several culprits. The presumed causes include:

  • Inherited genes
  • Physical and emotional trauma
  • Painful autoimmune disease symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Viral infections
  • Serious injuries
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Neuro-immune disorder or central sensitivity syndrome [3]

Treatment And Management Of Fibromyalgia 

Treatment And Management Of Fibromyalgia

Sadly, fibromyalgia has no cure. Yet, you can treat and manage fibromyalgia symptoms using different medicines, techniques, and self-care habits. It is only possible to relieve and manage fibromyalgia pain to make it bearable. While pain may end or reduce to a large extent for many victims, some patients live with fibromyalgia pain for many years.

Some interventions use a multi personnel approach with a team of doctors, rheumatologists, and therapists to manage various fibromyalgia symptoms. Others use physical exercise and massage to manage the condition and improve their life.

Here is a summary of measures to treat and manage the condition:

  • Stress management and meditation
  • Massage and yoga therapies
  • Regular strength and resistance workouts
  • Getting adequate and better-quality sleep
  • Join patient communities to share experiences on managing the conditions
  • Counseling and speech therapies to stabilize emotional and cognitive imbalances
  • Pain relievers and other prescription medications such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, sleep inducers, and anti-seizures

Final Take

In summary, fibromyalgia is a condition with a myriad of problems. Above all, the prolonged pain in most muscles and joints is sometimes excruciating and unbearable. However, many patients get the wrong diagnosis, with several being treated for possible autoimmune disease symptoms first.

By the time doctors realize they aren’t dealing with autoimmune disease symptoms, fibromyalgia escalates, causing more harm and pain. Joint pains, muscle pains, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, and stress affect the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia has no cure. But its management could be through medical prescriptions, exercise, and self-management methods.

View More

0 Reviews for

The Truth About Fibromyalgia: What Exactly Is Fibromyalgia?
User Review Rating
3 / 5.0
The Truth About Fibromyalgia: What Exactly Is Fibromyalgia?
Write a Review Please review the Guidelines before posting
X

Hints on how to write a helpful review

A great review should have the following qualities:

  • A helpful review should connect and engage with the readers using personal experience.
  • An excellent review provides the readers with cogent and unbiased information necessary to help them make the best choice.
  • A review must be well-formatted to make reading easier by using multiple paragraphs and avoiding caps.
  • The primary goal of your review must remain to provide accurate and non-salesy information.
  • Above all, let your review be fair and honest.

We have high level of professional editorial section with zero tolerance policy on fake reviews.

To maintain the genuineness of our brand, we ensure all customer reviews submitted to us are verified and confirmed before publishing. Though we might not be a 100% accurate, however, we try our best to ensure being next to best. For a thorough verification of submitted reviews, we spend close to 7 working days before allowing any customer review to be published since we also work on the earliest submissions first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100 characters remaining.

Your Rating:05

Submitting this review means that you agree to our Review Guidelines, confirming that you are a verified customer who has purchased the product and may have used the merchandise or experienced the service, and providing only a real interaction and experience without ulterior motives or has an affiliate or business with the company in any way. By ticking this box and submitting this review, you also accept that submitting fake reviews is a violation of Health Web Magazine Terms of Use and such conduct will not be tolerated.

5000 characters remaining.

Thanks for submitting your comment!

SUBSCRIBE TO HEALTH WEB MAGAZINE

Get the latest in healthy living, nutrition & fitness, mental wellbeing, beauty & skincare, and more, straight to your inbox!

Loading

Your Privacy is important to us

Medical Disclaimer: The content published on our website, Health Web Magazine, is to inform and educate the reader only and not a substitute for professional medical advice from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have a specific health question or concern you must consult with a qualified medical professional and in the case of an emergency, immediately contact your local emergency services. Health Web Magazine and the publisher of this content take NO responsibility for any detrimental health issues or injuries that result from following advice found in articles, reports/overviews, or other content on our website. All visitors to Health Web Magazine, particularly pregnant and nursing women and individuals taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication, must consult with their physician before starting a new supplement or making any changes to their diet or exercise plan.

All trademarks, registered trademarks and service-marks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners. © 2021. All Rights Reserved. All opinions expressed on this website are the opinion of and were written by Admark LLC, owners/operators of this website. Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these websites published terms of use and all site policies.

X

All Health Web Magazine content is thoroughly reviewed and/or fact-checked by a team of health industry experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, established health journals, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

At no time do we advise any of our readers to use any of our content as a substitute for a one-on-one consultation with a doctor or healthcare professional.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date or any otherwise questionable content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.