Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia syndrome can cause pain in the muscles and tiredness
Fibromyalgia syndrome can cause pain in the muscles and tiredness

Diabetes and Fibromyalgia syndrome are linked conditions.

FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) literally means pain in the fibrous tissues, the most common symptoms being widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.

Unfortunately, the causes of Fibromyalgia remain unknown, and the disorder has only gained increasing recognition in the past twenty years.

What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include a burning ache, a feeling like the muscles have been pulled or torn. Muscles may twitch or even burn.

A major symptom is a profound lack of energy and extreme fatigue.

Pain from FMS may be localised to one area. Due to the tiredness element of FMS, comparisons are often drawn with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

This level of tiredness can affect ability to focus and concentrate, and even influence the ability to move limbs. FMS has also been likened to the symptoms of those with Gulf War Syndrome. FMS is more common amongst women than men.

The widespread aching pain felt by FMS sufferers comes from the connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments and the muscles.

Pain may be most acute early in the morning or following exercise.

However, unlike arthritis, FMS is not a joint-related condition. FMS affects both people with diabetes and people without diabetes.

Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic headache
  • Memory impairment
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • IBS
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Sleep disorders (alpha EEG-anomaly, sleep apnea, restless legs, etc)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome (TMJ or TMD)
  • Stiffness in the morning
  • Muscle twitching, pain, or burning
  • Premenstrual syndrome including painful periods
  • Feeling of swollen extremities
  • Sensitivity to odours, loud noises, bright lights, and some medications
  • Skin sensitivity

How is diabetes associated with Fibromyalgia syndrome?  

FMS is associated with a range of conditions, including diabetes. Other FMS related conditions include sleep disorders, IBS, TMJ and rheumatoid arthritis.

A study carried in Israel in 2003, Fibromyalgia in diabetes mellitus, noted that fibromyalgia is commonly found in people with diabetes, and more so in people with type 1 diabetes. The researchers found evidence to suggest that the development of fibromyalgia is more likely in people with less well controlled diabetes.

So FMS affects sleeping?

Sleeping Disorders Associated with FMS include Alpha-EEG anomaly, sleep apnea, upper-airway resistance syndrome and restless leg syndrome.

What triggers Fibromyalgia?

Often, Fibromyalgia sufferers report common triggers that prompt attacks of Fibromyalgia. Triggers include:

How is FMS caused?

Fibromyalgia is caused by an underlying abnormality or predisposition, and there is no certainty surrounding the cause.

Abnormalities in the pain-related chemical makeup of the brain are the suspected cause.

The following incidents are often reported prior to FMS diagnosis:

  • infection
  • a related disorder including diabetes and
  • bodily trauma such as an accident

How is Fibromyalgia treated?

Often treating sleep disorders is the first treatment for FMS sufferers. Quality of sleep strongly impacts pain levels and helps the body to naturally regulate itself and repair damaged tissues. Serotonin boosting medication may also be prescribed.

FMS sufferers may be prescribed neurotransmitters, pain medications, muscle relaxants, physical or occupational therapy and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic care and therapeutic massage.

What is the prognosis for sufferers with Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

At this stage, there is no known cure for FMS. The profound pain and fatigue caused by FMS may also flare up at any time and in varying degrees.