The fibromyalgia syndrome or fibromyalgia is a complex medical condition that usually occurs in women between 20 and 55 years old.

This condition produces multiple muscular pains of severe intensity, tiredness or chronic fatigue , sleep disturbances, disturbance of mental functions and alteration in the mood of the sufferer. Its diagnosis is complex and is the cause of much debate among the medical community.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

The symptoms necessary to establish the diagnosis of fibromyalgia or fibromyalgic syndrome are:

Generalized and persistent pain

 (Greater than 12 weeks). Patients report suffering from multiple muscle aches constantly and periodically during the last 3 months.

To be considered generalized, the pain must be located in both halves of the body, on the right and left side, above and below the waist. The muscles most frequently involved are the supraspinatus, scapular, and trapezius.

Fatigue

Patients report feeling exhausted without energy all the time, even after having slept uninterruptedly for more than 8 hours.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from restless leg syndrome , which impairs their ability to sleep and rest.

Cognitive difficulties

Patients have a hard time concentrating, remembering, or focusing their attention on a specific task.

Rigidity

Patients may have stiffness in their joints that makes mobility of the limbs or extremities difficult.

Multiple unexplained symptoms

Patients frequently report feeling difficult to carry out their activities, suffer from depression, anxiety, and interpersonal problems.

Connection between fibromyalgia and leg pain

The vast majority of fibromyalgia patients report localized pain in the front (under the belly) of the thighs and hips, as well as in the back (under the back) of the legs. This pain can occur at any time, being more intense at night.

During rest hours, leg pain is usually accompanied by a feeling of discomfort and heat in this area. This requires constant movement of the lower extremities, which is known as restless leg syndrome.

Characteristics of leg pain in fibromyalgia.

  • Leg pain in fibromyalgia must be symmetrical, that is, both lower limbs must hurt in similar places at the same time.
  • The areas most commonly affected by leg pain in these patients are the muscles of the front area of ​​the thighs, the lower part of the thigh in its inner part and the legs in its back part.
  • You must not have any history of recent trauma or signs of blow to the area.

What causes leg pain in fibromyalgia?

The fibromyalgia patients are extremely sensitive to pain, it is believed that in their brains an alteration affecting the centers are responsible for interpreting and recognizing pain signals occurs. This alteration causes the stimuli to be interpreted improperly.

To the extreme that even in the absence of any stimulus, the brain emits signals (secretion of substances called neurotransmitters) that trigger the sensation of intense pain . This is known as a state of overreaction or exaggerated response.

How is fibromyalgic syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis of fibromyalgic syndrome is a bit complex and can be uncomfortable for the patient. Because this is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that in order to be diagnosed, it is an essential requirement to rule out other possible causes of all the symptoms and disorders that the patient refers to.

In addition to the fact that the patient must undergo multiple laboratory tests and must fill out a guide or diary of symptoms to corroborate the syndrome.

Regardless of how obvious all its symptoms are and how long the disease lasts, the practice of this protocol is mandatory in order to avoid preventable complications.

What is the treatment of leg pain in fibromyalgia?

The treatment of leg pain in fibromyalgic syndrome consists of treating the disease itself, since the cause of leg pain is the disease. Approved treatments may include:

  • Analgesics . Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the first to be used, changing for others of higher potency according to need.
  • Antidepressants . They control the symptoms of fatigue and disturbances in mood and concentration.
  • Anxiolytics . They reduce anxiety and improve the concentration of patients.
  • Muscle relaxants . Muscle tension is a trigger for symptoms, by reducing or eliminating it, relief of all symptoms is achieved.
  • Antiepileptics  Cell membrane stabilizers control the pain caused by this disease in a more effective and lasting way.
  • Physical therapy. Physiotherapy may be necessary to restore the minimum conditions for a full and healthy life.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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