Fibromyalgia

  • Basics

    Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, restless sleep, and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is caused by a generalized disturbance in pain processing that leads to pain in muscles and soft tissue. Fibromyalgia is common, and occurs in about 3.4% of women and 0.5 % of men. Fibromyalgia occurs in all types of climates, nearly all countries, and in most ethnic groups.

    Fibromyalgia is a physical condition, not a psychiatric illness. Fibromyalgia has only recently been recognized as a distinct physical condition. However, fibromyalgia patients with chronic symptoms may have psychological problems. In one study, 30% to 40% of people with fibromyalgia and its related conditions were found to suffer from depression, anxiety, or stress. While painful, fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis, and therefore does not actually damage joints or other bodily tissue. With proper treatment, many patients can experience substantial relief.

    While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, it is possible to keep your symptoms under control. The best way to treat fibromyalgia is with a combination of medication, self-care, and alternative treatment. It is usually not necessary to stop working, although you should be careful not to get too stressed or overtired.

  • Causes

    There is no known cause for fibromyalgia. However, people who suffer from fibromyalgia tend to share certain nervous system abnormalities that amplify and spread pain, and intensify other sensations. However, because many patients with fibromyalgia have disrupted sleep, there is thought to be a link between the condition and sleep disorders. Other factors that have been found to contribute to the condition are stress, chemical imbalances in the brain and spinal cord (such as improper levels or the brain chemical serotonin), and abnormalities in the immune or endocrine systems.

    Fibromyalgia may have a genetic link.

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