What Else May Be Involved?
Fibromyalgia and TP syndromes have some similarities. Both, for instance, subject you to the discomfort of tender muscles, even with fairly light pressure. Pain from pressure on trigger points sends pain to other areas. This is called “referred pain”. But pain associated with fibromyalgia tends to be only where pressure is applied. This is “localized pain”. The important point to remember, though, is that you can have both!
Patients with TP syndromes can certainly experience other conditions at the same time. This situation is called “comorbidity”. But, by-and-large, comorbidity in TP syndromes is coincidental and you are just as likely to experience only the trigger points without other complicating circumstances.
Fibromyalgia, on the other hand, frequently occurs along with other conditions or diseases. The existence of these comorbidities makes diagnosis and treatment much more difficult. The exact nature of the relationship between fibromyalgia and one or more other conditions is poorly understood. Does one cause another? We simply do not know.
The following is a list of conditions frequently associated with fibromyalgia:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Headaches (various types), Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), Unexplained Skin Sensations, TMJ, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Restless Leg Syndrome, Allergies, Chemical Sensitivity, Disorders of Muscular or Ligamentous Attachments to Bones, Disorders of the Esophagus, Vision Disturbances, Anxiety, Lung or Breathing Problems, Reynaud’s Phenomenon, Thyroid Dysfunction, Lyme’s Disease, Silicone Breast Implant Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Frequent Infections, Osteoarthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Hyperventilation, PMS, Depression, Cognitive Dysfunction, Sleep Disorders, Others I did not list.
If you have fibromyalgia, one or more of the conditions above can aggravate your symptoms and make treatment significantly more difficult. It has been suggested that the causes of comorbid conditions and the causes of fibromyalgia may be similar or even the same. Much more research is required to sort out this complex situation.
As you can see, it is all too easy to treat one or more of the above conditions without recognizing there is a concomitant fibromyalgia that also requires treatment. It is little wonder that many MPS sufferers spend years, spend money and change doctors often; without achieving the pain relief they seek.
Next I will look more closely at some of the conditions in the above list. This will be the topic of my next post: Current Thought on Pain Reduction in Myofascial Pain Syndromes (part 6) How Does This All Work?