Fibromyalgia and Temporomandibular Disorder

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that spares the joints but may affect the whole body. There is presence of multiple painful areas, so-called tender points all over the body.

As of now its cause is unknown and symptoms tend to vary in different patients. It is thus that the condition is termed a syndrome instead of a disease. It is called fibromyalgia syndrome.

Who does fibromyalgia affect?

Fibromyalgia affects 2 to 7% of the world population and is 7 to 90 times more prevalent among women.

The condition more commonly affects persons between the ages of 45 and 60 but may occur at any age.

Although uncommon, the syndrome also affects children and adolescents.

Main symptoms of fibromyalgia

There are several associated symptoms that include fatigue, lack of refreshing sleep, cognitive impairments, abdominal discomfort, irritable bowel syndrome and headache.

Fibromyalgia and temporomandibular disorder

One of the lesser known associated symptoms of fibromyalgia is temporomandibular disorder. Temporomandibular disorder is defined as a condition that that comprises of various alterations and changes in the muscles of chewing and the temporomandibular joints along with their associated structures.

The main symptoms of temporomandibular disorder include tenderness or pain on palpation over the joint and the muscles of chewing, change of the jaw movements along with pain.

Symptoms of temporomandibular disorder may be seen at all ages. The symptoms and their severity however vary according to the subjects’ age and may increase after puberty with maximum severity between 20 and 40 years of age.

The symptoms are mildest among children, adolescents, and elderly. Similar to fibromyalgia, the prevalence of temporomandibular disorder shows more prevalence among females than males. Women are three times more affected than men.

Association of temporomandibular disorder and fibromyalgia

The association of temporomandibular disorder and fibromyalgia rests on two basic principles. These include:-

  • Sine pain perception and pain sensitivity is raised in fibromyalgia; there may be aggravation and development of temporomandibular disorder. This means fibromyalgia is the predominant problem predisposing to temporomandibular disorder. The pain in fibromyalgia may be leading to psychological distress and increased health care visits leading to aggravation of the temporomandibular disorder.
  • Both temporomandibular disorder and fibromyalgia are found to have similar pathophysiological changes and similar psychological features. Both may be thus part of the same mental health disorder.

Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2013

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Comments

  1. Aegean Sharp Aegean Sharp United Kingdom says:

    It is totally ridicilous to say that tmj and fibromyalgia is part of a mental disease. I think author should either check her sources or her reasoning.

  2. Aegean Sharp Aegean Sharp United Kingdom says:

    Where is the scientific proof that links tmj and fibromyalgia as psychic disorders? Complete fantasy.

  3. Shaz Nanma Simms Shaz Nanma Simms United Kingdom says:

    sadly my gp and the psychologist I have seen do not believe in fibromyalgia Frown therefore there is no support and undersanding and I am facing losing my child due to the chaos having this illness and others has casued me Frown  I am great parent and son is happy.  Sadly I have been terribly scapegoated for his problems and he is diagnosed as having chronic pain as they 'don't diagnose Fibromyalgia' in children apparently.... this I was told following my son being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.....Because I have reported his symptoms and he is trying to explain how things are for him but finds it hard...... he has been disbelieved and I have been accused of making up his illnesses and being an unfit parent.  Took him out of school almost two years ago and he has made really good progress and it is very apparent.  I couldn't make up what I m going through.  Any signposts for support would help as uite literally my anxiety is through the roof and I am wits end with it all.  I also have Elhers Danos syndrome, and am autistic.  I deal with loads, overcome so many challenges and my son is happy..... it is so awful.  If only the UK 's NHS was up to the job of educating and raising awareness...but they are not.  It isn't life threatening but it takes everything and now it is taking my last child of three Frown

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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