Fibromyalgia may be a condition that affects approximately 2% of the world’s population, women being more affected than men.
In fact, it is estimated that more than 80% of people who suffer from this condition are female. This disease is manifested by specific symptoms combining physical and mental pain. Although fibromyalgia is very debilitating for patients, doctors cannot detect any abnormalities or lesions. According to a study relayed by France TV Info, fibromyalgia could be the consequence of certain suppressed or unexpressed emotions.
Discovered in 1975 by Professor Moldofsky, a Canadian psychiatrist, fibromyalgia was not recognized by the WHO as a disease in its own right until 1992. However, this chronic condition is more frequent than we think and leads to real emotional distress in those who suffer from it
Fibromyalgia: an invisible but disabling disease
In the “Pain Book”, the French Society for the Study and Treatment of Pain explains that in patients suffering from fibromyalgia, “pain is invisible but it destroys, isolates, weakens”.
In reality, fibromyalgia has long been seen as an “imaginary” condition, as explained by general practitioner Virginie Piano. As a result, it was classified as a somatic disorder until 2006. Despite very debilitating symptoms, people who suffered from it were confronted with vain medical examinations: no biological abnormality or lesion was detected. However, the patients suffered from a chronic psychological and physical handicap combining muscle and joint pain, insomnia, digestive disorders, fatigue, and hypersensitivity.
In addition, other people affected by the disease may experience heartburn, tingling, migraines or attention and memory problems. Chronic suffering that affects physical and psychological well-being and disrupts the quality of life of patients.
Possible causes and treatments
Although the origin of the disease is not fully understood, some factors may be involved:
Physiological causes: Hormonal disturbances, disorders of the nervous system, an imbalance of the intestinal flora, a viral infection or even a muscular abnormality can be at the origin of the disease.
Psychological causes: Trauma experienced during childhood or later, psychological shock, chronic anxiety, a stressful environment or depression.
In addition, caring for patients with fibromyalgia is particularly difficult. Nevertheless, Doctor Piano considers that a multifactorial approach is necessary to treat this disease. Thus, certain drugs such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve joint or muscle pain. In addition, balneotherapy, physiotherapy, and regular massages can be effective in relieving painful areas and relaxing the body. Psychological support can also be of great help in accepting the illness and improving their quality of life. In addition, Françoise Laroche, professor at Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris, indicates that regular physical activity can alleviate certain symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia: the disease of unexpressed emotions?
According to a study published in the journal Pain and relayed by France TV Info, people who suffer from fibromyalgia are prone to emotional conflicts and psychological trauma. These maintain diseases and worsen symptoms. In addition, chronic pain experienced contributes to the increase in stress levels and prevents patients from resolving their internal conflicts. In this sense, the researchers proposed a therapy aimed at helping patients to express and release their emotions. This treatment is called “Emotion Awareness and Expression Therapy”, which in French means therapy for recognizing emotions and expression.
According to Mark Lumley, Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University in the United States, “Many people with fibromyalgia have faced adversity in their lives, such as victimization, family problems or internal conflicts, all of which can create important emotions that are often suppressed or avoided. ” Thus, fibromyalgia could be the result of repression or emotional inexpression. The work carried out on this subject has made it possible to highlight surprising results. The research team divided a sample of 230 patients into 3, offering different therapies for each group. Spread over a period of 6 months at the rate of 8 sessions of 90 minutes each, the three proposed therapies were evaluated according to their effectiveness. After 6 months, 35% of people who received therapy focused on recognizing and expressing emotions reported feeling much better. Indeed, they found a reduction in pain and other symptoms of the disease. These results highlight a link between unexpressed emotions and fibromyalgia. For Professor Lumley, this therapy can be a complementary approach, stressing that “the brain is the key organ of pain and that the brain can be changed for the better by creating powerful corrective emotional experiences”.