Fibromyalgia is a chronic systemic disease that causes chronic bone and muscle pain throughout the body. The pain originates from an issue in the way the nervous system processes pain signals.
Often, patients describe the pain as an intense stabbing sensation. It is primarily found around the ribcage, breastbone, and in the center of the chest.
Also known as Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Fibromyositis, Fibrositis, or Diffuse Myofascial Pain Syndrome, this condition is soft tissue rheumatism. As a result, it may affect other parts of the body, including female organs, bowels, and stomach.
Does fibromyalgia cause breast pain?
Although symptoms vary from one person to the next, fibromyalgia pain may sometimes extend to the chest region to cause mastalgia. According to recent research studies, 47.2% of women diagnosed with fibromyalgia also suffered from mastalgia at the time of admission.
Without further ado, let us look at fibromyalgia’s main signs and symptoms and how it influences breast pain.
Primary signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia
Generally, fibromyalgia is a systemic disease that is more common in women. 85-90% of fibromyalgia patients are women.
According to recent reports, these patients range from 40-60 years old. But patients may get diagnosed with the disease as soon as they hit their late teens and early twenties.
The main symptom of this condition is pain and tenderness in various joints and muscles throughout the body.
Often, the pain shifts from one part of the body to the next. But the criteria for diagnosis states that the patient must have been in pain for a minimum of three months.
In addition, the pain must be above a particular severity score and experienced in a specific number of body parts.
Patients should also have another possible cause of the pain, like arthritis. Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety or depression
- Lack of energy
- tingling of the feet and hands or numbness
- Burning, itching, and other skin issues
- Muscle cramps or twitches
- Trouble focusing and memory issues
Fibromyalgia and Malstagia
These two conditions can exist in one patient, suggesting that mastalgia is a potential syndrome of fibromyalgia. As mentioned earlier, fibromyalgia pain is relatively intense and constant.
In turn, it can be so painful that you cannot go about your daily activities. Thus, such a situation could lead to intense emotional turmoil.
Mastalgia, also referred to as breast pain or mastodynia, occurs in approximately 80% of women. It is often associated with fibrocystic breast disease, psychological disorders, or benign breast conditions.
According to a study report, it is common for women with fibromyalgia to experience breast pain when the musculature around the breast becomes tender.
However, patients should not rule out the cause of breast pain as fibromyalgia as it could also indicate breast cancer.
With the help of an MMI, mammogram, or biopsy, and proper physical examinations, physicians can narrow down the cause of mastalgia.
Other less Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
There are a few more symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. They include:
- Chest pain, which can influence breast pain in women
- Easy bruising
- Excessive sweating
- Sensitivity to high temperatures, light, and noise
- Bladder pain
- Jaw pain
- An urgent need to urinate
- Food allergy symptoms like diarrhea, stuffed nose, vomiting, and wheezing
How does fibromyalgia breast pain differ from that of Breast Cancer?
Generally, fibromyalgia pain differs from other types of bodily pain as it affects various parts all over the body.
Usually, this pain occurs in muscles and other soft tissues like joints. In turn, the brain intensifies the pain in the manner in which it processes it.
Common body parts affected by fibromyalgia include:
- Middle and lower back
Although lumps associated with breast cancer are generally painless, sometimes they can be painful.
For instance, when a patient undergoes surgery to remove a breast lump or cancer, the procedure could innervate the area, causing breast pain. Such pain could easily be confused with fibromyalgia based on the pain symptoms.
It is also vital to note that the quality of the pain in fibromyalgia varies depending on the day and the activities performed.
It is very painful in the morning, while others feel intense pain when or after exercising. The weather, lack of sleep, and stress also contribute to the quality and type of fibromyalgia breast pain.
Causes of Fibromyalgia Chest/ Breast Pain
There is no exact explanation behind the cause of fibromyalgia chest pain.
Factors that may contribute to this symptom include:
- Low levels of serotonin and dopamine stop the nerves from communicating pain signals to the brain
- Injury or trauma to the chest
- Inflammation from physical strain
- Infections that heighten your sensitivity or those that affect how the nervous system answers to pain.
How to treat fibromyalgia chest/breast pain
Treating fibromyalgia and its associated chest pain symptoms involves minimizing the symptoms and reducing the pain.
Patients must also incorporate self-care techniques into their daily regimen to ensure optimum health.
Some of the common treatments for fibromyalgia chest pain include:
Therapeutic exercise sessions will help your body build strength and stamina to aid in dealing with chronic pain symptoms.
Physical therapists will educate you on fibromyalgia chronic pain and help you find custom solutions to enhance your quality of life.
These professionals will teach you pain management strategies, enhance your movement, and eventually decrease the pain.
Flexibility and strengthening exercises will drastically assist you in moving effortlessly without any discomfort.
Over-the-counter medications like naproxen, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can aid in decreasing fibromyalgia chest pain. But, the strength of the prescribed pain killer depends on the severity of your discomfort.
It is worth noting that opioid medications are not best for use, leading to severe side effects and dependence. Such pain relievers also worsen the pain over time.
It is not easy for fibromyalgia patients to go through discomfort and pain daily. As a result, you can go through counseling sessions to express the pain and discomfort healthily.
With the help of your counselor, you will find helpful strategies to deal with psychological strains associated with fibromyalgia.
Counseling sessions will also help you learn new meditation techniques. These will come in handy when you need to breathe and live past your pain.
Lifestyle and Home remedies
As mentioned earlier, self-care is one of the essential aspects of the management of fibromyalgia.
Some practical lifestyle and home remedies for the treatment of fibromyalgia include:
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Thus, ascertaining that you get some good quality rest is vital.
Patients should also practice good sleeping habits, including routine bedtime and waking up, and limited daytime napping.
Healthy stress management
Patients should always allocate a part of their day to relax and focus on themselves. This aids in avoiding emotional stress and limiting overexertion. You could try healthy stress management routines, like meditation and deep breathing exercises.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle
Although exercise might initially increase fibromyalgia pain, the pain will gradually subside, and fibromyalgia symptoms will decrease.
Some appropriate exercises include swimming, walking, biking, water aerobics, and stretching. It is also vital to always eat a healthy diet and avoid caffeine and tobacco products.
Do not do too much on good days as it will result in a rise of more bad and painful days. Moderate your activities and perform an e1qual amount of activities on both good and bad days.
Currently, there is no cure or known cause of fibromyalgia. The available treatment options focus on lifestyle changes and medications that reduce the symptoms, including breast pain.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition whereby patients go through remission type periods. This is when fatigue and pain symptoms reduce to almost a minimum.
But, with the help of the treatment methods mentioned above, patients can permanently reduce the symptoms and live an almost pain-free life.