Several decades ago, fibromyalgia is considered as a fake condition. But today, it is thought as a real disease. However, it is not fully understood yet. There are still lots of questions that need to be answered. How about the prognosis? Can it go into remission?
Fibromyalgia is commonly characterized by widespread pain and fatigue with unknown cause. Meanwhile, some experts think that it may be caused by more than one cause.
This disorder can lead to pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles almost anywhere in the body, particularly sites called tender points such as hips, arms, legs, back, shoulders, and neck. These points can be hurt if the pressure is put on them. There are about 18 typical tender points for fibromyalgia, according to ACR (The American College of Rheumatology).
One of common suggestions to diagnose fibromyalgia, the widespread pain must last about 3 months or more. The chance for the disease to cause disability is uncertain, fortunately most sufferers are still able to control the symptoms and not too bothered by the symptoms – even many of them still remain active.
Some studies have suggested that low serotonin levels may be related to fibromyalgia. Serotonin is a brain chemical that involved in controlling pain perception and sleep.
Other studies suggest that this disorder may be related to high levels of substance P (a brain chemical that is also involved in pain perception) or/and low somatomedin C levels (somatomedin C is involved in muscle repair and muscle strength).
In addition, while some experts think that fibromyalgia is a predominantly psychiatric disorder, others believe that it is not only about in your head. Some studies have shown that it is not simply a manifestation of psychological morbidity /illness.
Other possible causes may include infections (particularly viral infections), certain illness, the abnormality of blood flow in the muscles, or something else. All of these theories are not confirmed yet – more studies are needed!
Despite the exact cause of the problem is still debatable, in medical practice it is now commonly recognized. Another interesting fact, it much more common in women than in men – and it often starts at the ages of 29 to 37 years.
Uncertain causes, unpredictable course of the disease, and the severity of the symptoms can be stressful. In fact, some people with fibromyalgia experience depression or even social isolation. While this disorder can be a stressful illness, it also can get worse with stress.
The good news, it is thought as non-life-threatening condition, though it may become a lifelong condition (chronic) and currently it still has no cure. Typically, it also doesn’t cause damage to the joints and muscles.
In many cases, the symptoms improve and resolve over time. But it is uncertain how often this occurs! Generally, spontaneously remission may be well-described in fibromyalgia.
Periods of less intense pain /stable can alternate with periods of increased pain and other symptoms. However in rare cases – a complete, long-lasting remission may occur.
When this disorder is diagnosed early, there may be a greater chance for long-lasting remission to occur. According to one study, among sufferers who got the diagnosis of fibromyalgia earlier, about 25 percent of them had remission of the symptoms about 2-year after the diagnosis.