Juvenile Fibromyalgia

What is Juvenile Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a well known disorder that creates a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can greatly interfere in the ability to live day to day life. Researchers have determined that fibromyalgia is a disorder that amplifies painful sensations by altering the way your brain processes pain signals, and at times causes it to send false signals.

It is commonly thought of as a condition that affects adults. However, it has been determined that fibromyalgia also affects children and adolescents as well. It is thought that approximately 2 to 6% of school aged children are affected. Statistics show that females are more likely to be affected than men.

What are the Symptoms of Juvenile Fibromyalgia?

The symptoms of juvenile fibromyalgia usually appear after one of the following:

  • Physical trauma
  • Surgery
  • Infection
  • Psychological stress

If one of the previous has not occurred, it is still possible for a child to develop fibromyalgia. Usually, the symptoms gradually develop. While it sometimes occurs, there does not have to be a triggering event for them to appear.

Symptoms include

  • Widespread, dull aching pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Juvenile Fibromyalgia Causes

The direct causes of juvenile fibromyalgia are unknown and researchers are continuing to study the illness. Studies indicate that a number of factors may play a role in how the disease develops and why certain people are at a higher risk of contracting the disease than others. For instance, research has revealed that fibromyalgia may be hereditary, at least in part. The condition has been identified in families often enough that there does seem to be a genetic link.

Additionally, there’s some evidence to suggest an infection or illness may instigate the first occurrence of juvenile fibromyalgia in an individual. In some cases, the condition has also presented itself, following emotional or physical trauma, linking juvenile fibromyalgia to post-traumatic stress disorder. Whatever the catalyst, the symptoms of juvenile fibromyalgia are caused by an overstimulation of nerves, which confuses the brain and causes an abnormal release of chemicals. As neurotransmitters send off pain impulses, the brain records that memory and, as the nerves become more sensitive due to the overstimulation, they can overreact to pain.

How is Juvenile Fibromyalgia Treated?

Treatments for juvenile fibromyalgia involve a multidisciplinary approach. This approach involves clinicians, rehabilitation specialists, psychologists, pharmacology, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical interventions, and patient education.

Medication

There are several medications that doctors may use to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure medications

A combination of therapies is usually successful in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. By following the therapies that your doctor recommends, even children can find relief from the chronic aching that fibromyalgia brings into their lives.

Juvenile Fibromyalgia Prevention

There is no known prevention for juvenile fibromyalgia, but the treatment of symptoms can reduce the longevity and intensity of flare-ups. Current treatment methods focus on reducing pain and managing fatigue and depression. One of the most effective treatments is physical activity. By establishing a regular workout routine and slowly increasing the duration and intensity of the workout, one can build greater muscle mass that will resist pain more effectively. Swimming exercises are highly recommended.

Depending on the degree of pain experienced by the patient, medication may be a necessary alternative. Prescriptions for antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants can help manage pain flare-ups and reduce episodes of depression associated with the condition.

Counseling has also been effective in managing symptoms. Relaxation therapy and biofeedback are just a few methods shown to reduce the symptoms of juvenile fibromyalgia.