Fibromyalgia is a disorder which causes muscle pain all over the body accompanied by fatigue, sleep and mood disturbance. Most of them think that it affects only adults, but it occurs in children as well, and the condition is called as juvenile fibromyalgia. It is estimated that nearly 1% to 7% of children suffers from this chronic disorder and is commonly diagnosed in 13 to 15 years age group.
Juvenile fibromyalgia can occur in "primary" or "secondary" form. Juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) occurs if there is no other condition like rheumatic disease or musculoskeletal disease. If fibromyalgia is associated with juvenile arthritis, then it is called as "secondary" fibromyalgia.
There is no definite cause for juvenile fibromyalgia. But it is believed that few factors might be involved in causing this condition such as genetics, infections, physical or emotional trauma.
In patients with fibromyalgia, nerve stimulation causes an abnormal increase in certain chemicals related to pain signals or neurotransmitters in the brain. It leads to increased sensitivity of pain and hence the patients overreact to pain signals.
Musculoskeletal pain is the most common symptom observed in children with JFM. The pain would be dull and occurs on both the sides of the body, above and below the waist. The patients also experience other fibromyalgia symptoms like disturbed sleep, morning stiffness, headache, pain in the abdomen, irritable bowel symptoms, depression, anxiety, tight muscles and sometimes swelling.
JFM occurs most often in girls than boys, and the reason is unknown. If your child is being diagnosed with other musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, then he /she may be at risk of developing JFM. The family history of fibromyalgia also increases the risk of JFM.
Due to pain and lack of sleep, your child may not be able to concentrate well at school. It may in-turn lead to anxiety and depression.
First, the doctor would ask about the symptoms, medical history, and family history. Then, he/she would perform physical examination test to check the presence of tender points, and severity of pain.
There is no particular lab test to diagnose the condition; however, the doctor would suggest you blood tests that include complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and thyroid function tests.
The main aim of the treatment for fibromyalgia is to reduce pain and to improve the quality of life. Medications are usually prescribed for pain and improving the sleep. Anti-depressants and anti-seizures drugs are sometimes prescribed to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Your doctor would suggest totake your child to a physical therapist who provides an exercise program with aerobics, strengthening, and stretching exercises.
Cognitive behavior therapy is also suggested in which pain is managed using adaptive coping skills. The doctors would suggest the parents to attend some classes regarding how to support their children’s coping skills.
Self-care plays a major role in managing this condition,/p>
Limit anxiety and stress
As fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, get proper sleep at night by limiting daytime napping
Eat healthy foods, limit caffeine intake
Exercise regularly- do not stop is there is pain as doing it gradually and regularly often decreases the symptoms