Reminder: fibromyalgia in 5 sentences
Fibromyalgia is a disease that combines chronic, diffuse and persistent muscle and joint pain that can worsen when the person exerts himself or when the weather is humid or cold. The patient feels severe fatigue associated with sleep disturbance and anxiety. Particularly affecting women between 30 and 55 years old (8 to 9 cases out of 10, according to Health Insurance), it was recognized by the World Health Organization in 1992.
Even though fibromyalgia is not a serious illness, the pain it causes significantly impacts the well-being of the person who suffers from it. She then sometimes tends to isolate herself socially and suffer from depression.
Is fibromyalgia a disease?
Despite recognition from the WHO, fibromyalgia continues to create controversy. And for good reason, scientists do not recognize any physiological cause for the symptoms of the disease. In addition, the pain is not associated with biological abnormalities or visible lesions.
Even more, fibromyalgia is neither hereditary, nor congenital, nor contagious. It is not life-threatening and does not affect vital organs.
However, the pain is very real and it is debilitating. But for many doctors, fibromyalgia remains the expression of a psychosomatic disorder.
Can we treat or soothe the pain linked to fibromyalgia?
There are currently no specific treatments for fibromyalgia. The reason is that the cause of this disease is still unknown. However, it has been shown that being overweight increases muscle and joint pain.
But while the disease cannot be treated, the pain can be reduced.
A non-drug multidisciplinary approach is recommended to help the patient cope with the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Experts particularly recommend physical activity. Causing no adverse effects, sport also improves physical and mental well-being. Additionally, regular physical activity improves sleep.
Relaxing activities are also recommended to treat fibromyalgia symptoms. We think in particular of yoga, tai chi, meditation... Plus, they help you fall asleep and relax.
Finally, acupuncture and spa treatments are treatments to consider to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Even if the effects are minimal, they do exist.
Please note, homeopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, hypnotherapy... would not be recommended to treat fibromyalgia.
Medications to treat fibromyalgia
The medications recommended in the treatment of the disease only alleviate symptoms such as pain, lack of sleep, chronic fatigue and even anxiety.
However, EULAR does not recommend the use of medications, because they are considered ineffective in relieving the pain associated with the disease while the side effects are numerous. Level 3 opioid analgesics, corticosteroids, human growth hormone and sodium oxybate are particularly singled out for their ineffectiveness. In addition, some cannot be used long term, notably morphine.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants have been shown to be effective in relieving pain. But the effects are short-term and they have no effectiveness on acute and persistent pain.
Likewise for anticonvulsants, they would slightly reduce chronic pain, but are not effective when the patient suffers from acute pain. Furthermore, their many side effects mean that they are not often used to treat fibromyalgia.
Alternative treatments for fibromyalgia
Alternative treatments have been put forward to manage fibromyalgia-related pain.
Recognized for its scientifically proven virtues, cannabidiol or CBD is increasingly used by patients suffering from fibromyalgia to alleviate symptoms, particularly chronic pain.
Indeed, numerous scientific studies, including three in particular, have highlighted the effectiveness of CBD in relieving chronic pain, anxiety, stress and lack of sleep linked to fibromyalgia.