Many people wonder if Guillain-Barr syndrome and fibromyalgia are related. Both produce quite similar symptoms in people who suffer from them, which makes it easy to see why people would think there may be a connection between Guillain-Barré syndrome and fibromyalgia. But there is a look at what exactly these diseases are and how they are related.
What is guillain-barre syndrome?
Guillain-barre syndrome (which is actually pronounced gee-yay buh-ray in case you ask) is a disease that causes the immune system of your body to start attacking your nerves. No one knows exactly what causes it, but the fact that it often starts after a serious illness means that your body may overreact to exposure to a virus.
You see, in a healthy person, the immune system works by sending white blood cells to attack foreign cells such as viruses or bacteria. But with autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, these white blood cells become too sensitive and begin to confuse their own cells with foreign invaders. Therefore, for people with an autoimmune disease, the body is attacking itself.
As a result, people with Guillain-barre have a series of symptoms. These include:
Muscle aches and fatigue
A tingling sensation in the extremities that leads to numbness
Severe pain in the lower back
Usually, the disease begins after an illness with a stinging or tingling sensation in the fingers and spreads to the rest of your body. Little by little it becomes more difficult to move the muscles as the disease spreads. In severe cases, Guillain-barre syndrome can lead to total paralysis in a few minutes. It can be fatal if the paralysis spreads to the lungs, which makes breathing impossible.
But for most people, the condition usually resolves itself, although recovery can take weeks or even months. Obviously, the condition requires treatment by medical professionals, however.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is another condition that produces many similar symptoms. It causes muscle aches and fatigue and causes pain in the lower back. No one is sure what causes fibromyalgia, but there are many people who believe that it could also be an autoimmune disease.
It is possible that both Guillain-Barr syndrome and fibromyalgia are caused by the same thing, which is the immune system that attacks the nerves. At this time, however, no one is sure exactly how fibromyalgia causes the symptoms it causes.
But it is definitely different from the Guillain-barre syndrome in some crucial ways. First, the pain manifests itself in 18 specific points of the body, instead of the generalized pain of GBS. Second, people with fibromyalgia do not become paralyzed gradually like people with GBS. Finally, while Guillain-Barr syndrome usually heals after a few weeks or months, fibromyalgia does not improve with time and there is no effective cure for it.
And nobody is sure what exactly is the link between Guillain-Barr syndrome and fibromyalgia, but it seems there may be one.
How are Guillain-Barr syndrome and fibromyalgia related?
Well, this is where things get difficult. We know that Guillain-barre and fibromyalgia produce similar symptoms. And we know that both attack the muscles. But it is not clear if both are the same type of disease.
But there seems to be a connection in the sense that Guillain-barre can really lead him to develop fibromyalgia. A fight with Guillain-Barr syndrome is often extremely traumatic in the body. And it has been established that this type of trauma can trigger fibromyalgia.
In fact, people with Guillain-barre reported that they were diagnosed with fibromyalgia after recovering from GBS. Therefore, it is possible that the over-sensitization of your immune system that comes with GBS will also cause fibromyalgia afterwards. On the other hand, that connection could be a total coincidence.
Unfortunately, although there is anecdotal evidence of people suffering from fibromyalgia that suggests that there is a link between fibromyalgia and Guillain-Barre syndrome, until now, doctors have not demonstrated conclusively. But still, it seems they must have some relationship, right? After all, they seem to affect the body in a similar way. Therefore, it seems likely that developing a better understanding of the basic functions that trigger both conditions could help achieve progress and the study of how nerves produce chronic pain syndromes.
And that gives hope that one day we can understand the relationship between Guillain-Barr syndrome and fibromyalgia. And that can give a better chance to cure both diseases.
But let us know, do you have Guillain-barre syndrome? Are your symptoms similar to fibromyalgia? Did you receive fibromyalgia after being diagnosed with Guillan-barre? Tell us in the comments.