Fibromyalgia and menopause: pain that comes from the mind

Muscle aches, bone pains, feeling lightheaded. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are a strange syndrome that can affect women after the age of 50. If you also think that your pain is related to this, you should read this article.

This article was written in collaboration with our medical staff

If there is one word related to fibromyalgia, it is pain. A condition that would put even the most tolerant person in difficulty because it is a type of widespread, intense malaise, which can make movements rigid, which can cause sleep disturbances and asthenia.

But what is really this strange evil?

What is Rheumatic Fibromyalgia or Muscle Fibromyalgia

The word fibromyalgia is made up of several terms of Greek and Latin origin: fiber comes from the Latin and refers to the idea of ​​fibrous tissue, i.e. tendon tissue and ligaments, while they come from the Greek μῦς (myo), literally muscle, and ἄλγος  ( algos) which means pain.

Here, following the etymology of this word, it is clear that fibromyalgia indicates pain in the muscles and tissues, tendons, ligaments and sometimes even bones that can appear characterizing itself through:

  • Widespread and (often) chronic pain. It often starts from the cervical spine and shoulders and then spreads to the rest of the body
  • Increased muscle tension such as a contracture or stiffness that often changes throughout the day based on levels of stress or fatigue
  • Headache or migraine that is directly dependent on muscle tension but is frequent and persistent
  • Paresthesia (tingling and stinging sensations) that are temporary and linked to moments of greater emotional pressure

According to medicine, it is a disease that affects the perception of pain, so those affected would perceive the “normal” stimuli that our body produces daily as painful.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

We have already clarified that it is a painful and chronic syndrome that presents, as the main symptom, precisely muscle or osteoarticular pain that often does not find relief, not even with the use of analgesics.

However, the main feature of this syndrome is to have a long series of secondary symptoms related to the problem. In particular:

  • Widespread pain, often concentrated in spots , such as stinging or burning sensations, which continue for at least three months
  • Bone pain especially vertebral
  • Pain on palpation in the so-called Tender Points, or specific points in which the fibromyalgia patient usually feels pain even at the slightest pressure
  • Frequent muscle cramps
  • Joint swelling and stiffness
  • Headache or Migraine
  • Paresthesia
  • Menstrual pain more severe than usual
  • Sleep disorders
  • Breast pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cystitis and in general pain on urination
  • Depression or depressed mood
  • Nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Asthenia and chronic fatigue

What are the causes of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome whose causes are not yet fully understood. Many doctors agree in defining it as a manifestation in which the psychological and psychosomatic component is very strong . For others, however, the causes may also be different.

Generally they can be framed in:

  • Genetic causes (heredity) since it happens that several members of the same family present these symptoms. However, the exact genetic reason, i.e. the genetic mutation, which gives rise to this disorder has not yet been isolated
  • Other rheumatic diseases : for example rheumatoid arthritis or some rheumatic diseases would lead to a predisposition to fibromyalgia .
  • Repeated fractures and trauma such as after surgery or a serious accident: in these cases the affected person seems to be more predisposed to this syndrome
  • Viral or infectious diseases whose origin cannot be precisely identified and which can lead to muscle or rheumatic pain
  • Psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety or stress can also act as a trigger for muscle or joint pain typical of fibromyalgia.

What is the relationship between fibromyalgia and menopause?

The relationship is not direct: fibromyalgia does not depend on the hormonal issue that leads to menopause, however it seems to affect women more than 50 years old .

In addition, the symptoms already described are very similar to all the disorders that can occur in perimenopause and menopause and in particular:

  • Sleep disorders
  • mood swings or depressed mood
  • Asthenia or chronic fatigue
  • Change in the intensity of PMS
  • Abdominal bloating and digestive or intestinal difficulties
  • Recurring headaches.

What to do in case of menopausal fibromyalgia

The first help must come from those around you: the fibromyalgia patient is often not believed, he is considered an “imaginary patient” because it seems impossible that in the presence of negative diagnostic tests (the fibromyalgia patient is generally a person who has no alterations evident from diagnostic tests) there may be a pain that continues, daily, and which is often so strong that it prevents even getting out of bed in the morning.

For this reason it is important to consider the reality of the pain of those who feel it and to take it seriously.

The fibromyalgia patient can basically learn to control pain through a path of psychotherapy, physiotherapy and to restore the right balance of sleep , essential for well-being and energy, mood and recovery of a good quality of life .

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