Fibromyalgia affects many people, far more than we ever imagined. These are mainly women between 25 and 45 years old.

Unfortunately there are still those who make the mistake of considering this picture almost as a psychosomatic illness, but it is not. The cause of the disease is still unknown. But we know how it manifests itself, sometimes even in a “strange” and difficult to understand way.

In fact, the most common symptoms are sometimes confused with those of other pathologies and can be numerous: widespread pain, constant sense of tiredness, sleep disorders, tingling, muscle spasms and contractions, weakness of the limbs, palpitations and intestinal disorders. Unfortunately for those who suffer it is difficult to understand where to turn, also because sometimes it is little considered.

Diagnosis still takes too long

Often those affected by fibromyalgia do not know which specialist to turn to, also because of the plurality of symptoms and in the absence of alterations in laboratory tests can be seen as a hypochondriac subject. In any case, the picture is often recognised in people aged between 20 and 50 , although the onset may occur during childhood, it is still complex and difficult to identify.

For the plurality of manifestations and symptoms, fibromyalgia therefore remains frequently undiagnosed (according to some studies this happens in 75 percent of cases), while in other cases the diagnosis comes late and after many medical examinations. It can also be two years before the picture is recognised, also because there are no specific instrumental tests for diagnosis, which occurs due to the exclusion of relevant rheumatic diseases.

Although it is not a degenerative pathology, the chronic pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia are pervasive and persistent: the symptoms do not increase over time but are fluctuating and vary in relation to numerous external factors that are able to cause a worsening.

This is the case, for example, of climatic factors (pain and stiffness worsen in winter and in periods of great humidity), hormonal factors (premenstrual period, thyroid dysfunction), psychological factors and aging.

The pathology also appears strongly correlated to physical or psychological traumas that can trigger it in a predisposed subject. Tension can play an important role in determining the picture, as well as depression and anxiety. Last fact to remember: one patient out of three with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis , sees his or her condition associated with fibromyalgia. And almost two in three people who suffer from this condition have other chronic diseases.

Care opportunities

It is truly original, although still to be scientifically validated on a sufficient number of patients, an opportunity for treatment that comes from Brazil, aimed at controlling pain. The study, published in the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, was conducted some time ago by the San Paolo Foundation on only less than 50 women and is based on the combined action of lasers and ultrasounds.

The two combined means have been applied directly to the palms of the hands and not where there is pain. The duration of treatment sessions is minimal: about three minutes twice a week for just over a month.

The women followed in the research were divided into groups: three received separate or combined applications of laser or ultrasound on the back, the other three on the palms of the hands . With this second technique the reduction of pain measured with suitable instruments was on average over 73 percent. over 70 percent. The hypothesis of applying care on the hands stems from the observation that those suffering from fibromyalgia normally has a large amount of nerve receptors right in correspondence with the arteries of this part of the body: for this reason, according to the authors of the research, improving circulation and nervous perception by acting on the sensitive areas of the hands could help to make more acceptable pain related to the disease.

Fibromyalgia vector illustration. Diagnosis symptoms labeled diagram. Problems with jaw, joints, skin, muscle, eyes, urinary and reproductive system. Reason of fatigue.

At the Congress of the Italian Society of Rheumatology (SIR) held in Rimini was presented the first national register on the disease, a project carried out by the same scientific Society under the patronage of the Ministry of Health. The goal is to obtain a tool that allows in-depth scientific research and favors the development of precision medicine.

“For the first time the patient has been placed at the” center “for a new, ambitious and complex project, which has so far seen the active participation of 19 rheumatology centers on the national territory – underlines  Fausto Salaffi, National Councilor of the SIR and delegate to problems related to chronic pain diseases – The initiative has allowed us to obtain what is, to date, the largest Italian case history of patients. The epidemiological and clinical data obtained will thus be able to widen the knowledge of the disease, in the hope of improving its diagnostic therapeutic path and encouraging a more personalized approach. Fibromyalgia is the third most common rheumatological pathologyin our country and alone represents 20 percent of all the diagnoses we make in the outpatient setting. It is therefore essential to be able to improve assistance to the sick”. Although fibromyalgia is so common in our country, only 24 percent of Italians have heard of it.