Chest Pain Cause Non Cardiac Fibromyositis

Fibromyositis is a chronic condition that causes widespread muscle pain, chest pain and fatigue. The exact cause of fibromyositis is uncertain, and while treatment can relieve chest pain and other fibromyositis symptoms, there is no known cure for the condition.

Fibromyositis is not fatal: In spite of chronic muscle pain and chest pain, the condition does not damage internal organs, bones or muscle.

Women are more susceptible to the disease than men. Anywhere from 0.7 percent to 13 percent of women live with fibromyositis. In comparison, rates of fibromyositis in men average between 0.2 percent and 3.9 percent.

Causes of Fibromyositis

Several possible causes of fibromyositis, which is often called fibromyalgia, are under investigation. The exact cause of the condition, however, currently remains unknown. The most common theory behind the condition is known as central sensitivization.

The central sensitivization theory suggests that fibromyositis begins with a sensitivity to pain signals. This sensitivity results in a low pain threshold and constant nerve activity that changes brain structure. The brain releases abnormally high levels of pain neurotransmitters, and pain receptors, or neurons, develop a memory of pain responses, becoming more sensitive and over-reactive to pain signals.

Other causes of fibromyositis are also under investigation, including:

  • hormonal changes
  • infection
  • injury to the upper spine
  • muscle metabolism abnormalities
  • sleep disturbances
  • stress
  • sympathetic nervous system disorders
  • trauma.

Fibromyositis Risk Factors

While causes of fibromyositis are unclear, a number of risk factors can be identified. Women are approximately three times more susceptible to fibromyositis than men. Although fibromyositis can occur at any age, most cases develop in middle age. The highest risk group for fibromyalgia is women in their 40s.

Sleep disorders may increase the risk of fibromyositis, although it is unclear whether sleep disturbances are causes of fibromyositis or a result of the condition. It is known that people with fibromyalgia often have sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and muscle spasms while sleeping.

Other risk factors associated with fibromyositis include:

  • a family history of fibromyalgia
  • exposure to damp or cold
  • fatigue
  • overwork
  • poor nutrition.

Rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus also increase a person’s risk of developing fibromyositis.

Chest Pain and Other Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The primary symptoms of fibromyositis are widespread pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia causes chest pain, as well as pain in the:

  • back of the head
  • elbows
  • hips
  • knees
  • neck
  • upper back.

Muscle and chest pain is usually localized with extremely tender spots: The slightest pressure on such an area causes pain. Pain due to fibromyositis can last for months, go into remission and then flare up again.

Fatigue is a hallmark symptom of fibromyositis. Even if a person with fibromyositis gets enough rest, he can wake up exhausted. This may be due to an inability to enter alpha wave sleep, which is required for restorative sleep.

In addition to chest pain and fatigue, fibromyositis symptoms include:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • dizziness
  • dry eyes, mouth and/or skin
  • facial pain
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • painful menstrual periods
  • sensory sensitivity to odors, noise, lights and other stimuli
  • temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).

Anxiety, mood changes and depression are common in fibromyositis patients and must be considered during fibromyositis treatment.

Fibromyositis Treatment

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, although the condition can go into remission for a period of time. Fibromyositis treatment, therefore, focuses on relieving symptoms and pain caused by muscle inflammation.

Over-the-counter and prescription analgesic medications (pain killers) are used to combat muscle inflammation and chest pain.

Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat muscle inflammation. Although fibromyositis pain is not caused by muscle inflammation, NSAIDs may relieve fibromyalgia pain when taken in combination with analgesics. Taken alone, however, NSAIDs have no effect on fibromyalgia symptoms.

Muscle relaxants are sometimes prescribed for muscle spasms and related pain. Muscle relaxants are not intended for long-term fibromyositis treatment, however, and are best used sparingly to avoid side effects.

The anti-seizure medication pregabalin has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for fibromyositis pain relief. At present, pregabalin is the only FDA-approved medication for fibromyositis.

Antidepressants form an important part of fibromyositis treatment. Antidepressants alter brain chemistry, increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. Low serotonin and norepinephrine levels cause increased pain sensitivity and fatigue, as well as depression and anxiety.

Non-medicinal fibromyositis treatment includes stress management and relaxation exercises. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and regular sleep patterns are also important aspects of fibromyositis treatment. People living with fibromyalgia may also find fibromyositis support groups helpful.

Resources

Grossman, K. (n.d.). How is Fibromyalgia Treated? Retrieved November 18, 2007, from the About.com Web site: arthritis.about.com/od/fibromyalgia/a/fibrotreatment_2.htm.

Health First. (nd). Fibromyalgia (Fibromyositis). Retrieved November 13, 2007, from the Health First Web site: www.healthfirst.net.au/content/view/175/42/.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (25 June 2007). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved November 13, 2007, from the Mayo Web site: mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079.

National Library of Medicine. (updated 5 March 2007). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved November 13, 2007, from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000427.htm.