Juvenile fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes musculoskeletal pain and fatigue in children and teenagers. A new study published in the March issue of the Journal of Pediatrics reports that four out of five children suffering from the condition will continue to have pain and other associated symptoms even when they are older. The researchers say that about half of these children will grow up as full-blown adult fibromyalgia patients.
Widespread and chronic musculoskeletal pain is what makes living with fibromyalgia difficult. Activity, anxiety, stress, and weather changes can aggravate the pain. In children, the syndrome causes sleep disturbances and fatigue, affecting the ability to perform activities of daily living. As the researchers point out, missed school days and withdrawal from social activities can have a drastic impact on a teen’s life.
In an attempt to identify whether the main signs and symptoms of this disease will continue into adulthood, the researchers analyzed a group of 94 teenagers suffering from this condition for six years. The teens were diagnosed with the disease between 2002 and 2010, with an average age at diagnosis of 15. The key findings of the study are as follows
- About 51 percent of the patients (now young adults with an average age of 21) continued to have fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Another 35 percent of them continued to have symptoms of fatigue, joint pain and sleep difficulty, though they did not meet all the criteria for the syndrome
- Patients with this disease were more likely to be married as young adults when compared with healthy people their age, but were less likely to have attended college
- More than half of the patients who were originally diagnosed had improved to the extent that they no longer fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for the same.
The exact causes of this disorder are not certain, even though certain reports suggest that genetics may have a prominent role in the same. As juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) can be chronic in nature, a multidisciplinary approach is important for ongoing treatment of the disorder. The study does stress that properly diagnosing juvenile fibromyalgia is crucial to help control the symptoms. Parents should take note if their child experiences chronic muscular pain and seriously consider getting an evaluation done at an established multidisciplinary healthcare center.