Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia Syndrome is characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue and an increased response to tactile pressure. This condition leads to daytime distress and dysfunction. In fact, the majority patients with fibromyalgia (95% of diagnosed patients) suffer from poor sleep and insomnia, as well as cognitive impairments, headaches, and depression.
What are the causes of fibromyalgia? According to statistics, about 2-4% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia. What’s more, this condition is more common in women. Strange as it may sound, the underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still unclear, but there are many theories that include altered pain processing, changes in levels of specific neurotransmitters, stress reactivity, and psychological factors.
Are there any treatments for fibromyalgia? The most common treatments for this condition are exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy (antidepressants). For example, a 2005 study found that individual CBT in fibromyalgia patients led to a 50% reduction in wake time during the night and about 60% of treated patients had a clinically important improvement in insomnia symptoms.
However, one question remains open for further research – whether sleep improvement will affect pain, fatigue and other indicators of well-being and quality of life. For example, recent studies have shown that limiting sleep time and fragmenting sleep in healthy adults can lead to increased sensitivity to pain, maintaining a potential bidirectional relationship between pain and sleep. Pain can disturb sleep, and fragmented sleep can aggravate daytime pain.