This pain syndrome is poorly understood. And as it mainly affects women (eight out of ten patients), many consider him … purely psychic. Error ! Fibromyalgia is a real disease that is beginning to unravel the mysteries.
In a documentary shown at the Toronto Film Festival September 8, 2017, the singer Lady Gaga has revealed suffer from a disease that eats away the years.
It is ultimately through a tweet, published September 12, the “Mother Monster” announced to his fans that it was fibromyalgia: “In our documentary, I’m dealing with fibromyalgia. I want to help raise awareness and connection between people who have it. ”
This syndrome shows no apparent clinical signs , hence the misunderstanding many doctors face the constant pain , the chronic fatigue and mood disorders characteristic of the disease.
Between 1.4% and 2.2% of the French population would fibromyalgia according to the National Authority for Health (HAS).
Result: the diagnosis is often delayed, on average 6 years after the onset of symptoms according to the national survey conducted in May 2014 by the FibromyalgieSOS association.
Fibromyalgia, physical illness in its own right
No, fibromyalgia is not “in the head”. Although still sometimes seen as a psychiatric disorder, it is recognized since 1992 by the World Health Organization as a physical illness in itself.
It is certainly sometimes associated with severe anxiety or depression because suffer day and night eventually grate on the nerves. But the muscle and joint pain perpetual, felt especially in the neck, shoulders, forearms, knees and buttocks, are indeed real.
They seem to result from neurological dysfunction that disrupts the production of brain hormones – including serotonin – and reduces the perception of pain threshold. “Brain imaging studies also showed abnormal blood flow in the brain,” says Nadine Randon, president of FibromyalgieSOS.
A long and difficult diagnosis
“No biological or radiological examination to identify fibromyalgia, which many patients wandering observes Ghyslaine Baron, vice president FibromyalgieSOS. But diagnosis is possible therefore that the doctor listens to the patient and knows fibromyalgia. ”
If pain and fatigue for more than six months, “it must start by eliminating the existence of another disease whose symptoms can be similar: ankylosing spondylitis , rheumatoid arthritis, lupus , Lyme disease, etc …” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, medical director of a chain of US clinics specializing in fibromyalgia.
The diagnosis is then established using clinical examination and pain assessment questionnaires, developed on the basis of the new criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
Treatments to improve quality of life
The management of the disease is necessarily multidisciplinary, since it is necessary to reduce pain and gradually readjust to the effort. Indeed, by dint of fatigue and pain, many fibromyalgia isolate themselves and limit their movements.
“The deconditioning is a major risk rating Ghyslaine Baron, as it worsens symptoms in an endless spiral.” The analgesic drugs can overcome the crisis, but not enough.