Fibromyalgia is a type of condition that can lead to a lot of debilitating symptoms. Among these are mental fog, chronic fatigue and chronic pain. However, the condition mainly involves overall muscle pain and weakness. This is why fibromyalgia is sometimes associated as a form of myopathy.
What is Myopathy?
Myopathy is an umbrella term for muscle diseases which lead to the dysfunction of muscles fibers. There are several different conditions can affect the muscle tissues and it can be broken down into several different categories:
- First, there are the dystrophies that affects the way the muscle tissues regenerate after damages. Generally, these conditions are progressive and this means that over time, they could destroy the heart and lungs’ ability to function well.
- Certain forms of myopathy is caused by the body’s inability to process nutrients and feeding nutrients to the muscles.
- Finally there are certain types of myopathy that could lead to genetic abnormalities and affect the muscle cells’ ability to replicate.
Is Fibromyalgia A Form of Myopathy?
Myopathy can lead to several different symptoms. It generally leads to the weakness of muscles that makes moving extremely difficult. Myopathy can also cause pain and stiffness in the muscles. As you can see, the symptoms of myopathy and fibromyalgia are rather similar. However, fibromyalgia does not fall into the standard category of myopathy. This is because myopathy is primarily due to a defect in the muscles. Unlike myopathy, patients of fibromyalgia do not show any inflammation or any abnormality in muscle tissues. Thus, it is likely that the pain as a result of fibromyalgia does not really come from the muscles themselves.
Furthermore, fibromyalgia is not really a progressive dystrophy and does not seem to come with any nutritional component in the same way as other myopathies would.
Instead, a lot of researchers have proposed that the root of fibromyalgia lies within the nervous system. The main idea behind such theory is that there are certain malfunctions in how the body processes pain. In normal cases, when muscles are injured or damaged, your nerves transmit signal into the brain and perceive these as pain.
However, with fibromyalgia, your nerves fire signals into the brain although there is no actual damage done to the muscles. The most common explanation for this is that the brain itself is actually abnormal. Research shows that those who have fibromyalgia have reduced blood flow in the areas of the brain that process pain. This reduced flow of blood could explain why your brain cannot process pain properly. As a result, such miscommunication can lead to the weakness and pain of the muscles.
How to Prevent Muscle Weakness in Fibromyalgia?
One of the main reasons why fibro patients feel weakness in their muscles is because of the lack of physical activity. Thus, doctors highly recommend patients to exercise on a regular basis to help strengthen the muscles and lessen the severity of the symptoms in the long term. However, the type of exercise you do is very important as it can either improve or worsen your symptoms.
The type of exercise that are best suited for fibromyalgia is light low impact exercise such as walking, stretching, swimming, warm water aerobics, yoga, taichi etc. Doctors recommend a mere 30 minutes each day. If you find that the exercise you do is not helping you, it could be that you are doing the wrong type of exercise. Approach a physical therapist when necessary as they can better design an exercise therapy plan customized to your needs.