What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic widespread muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, memory problems, and tenderness at certain points on the body. It is a leading cause of musculoskeletal pain in the United States. The cause of fibromyalgia is not completely understood, but it has been suggested that people with fibromyalgia process pain differently from other people.

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Fibromyalgia is a common disorder affecting approximately five million people in the United States alone. It is more common in women than men, with an estimated 80% to 90% of all fibromyalgia cases occurring in women. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed during middle age (Source: NIAMS).

Symptoms of fibromyalgia may appear directly following an emotionally or physically traumatic event, or they may slowly increase in severity without obvious cause. Not everyone who has fibromyalgia will have all of the characteristics of the disorder, and some symptoms may lie in remission for a time. Fortunately, several medications are available for managing symptoms, including analgesics and antidepressants.

While its cause is not understood, some cases of fibromyalgia have been related to injuries, illnesses, certain chronic diseases, and traumatic events. A genetic component for fibromyalgia has also been suggested.

In some cases, left untreated, the pain of fibromyalgia can lead to a serious emotional condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have such serious symptoms as suicidal thoughts or severe depression with thoughts of harming yourself.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for fibromyalgia but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is often associated with persistent muscle pain, particularly in areas that have been noted as trigger points or localized points of pain. Emotional symptoms may also be caused by fibromyalgia due to stress, lack of sleep, and chronic pain. Fibromyalgia may be strongly associated with other conditions, such as... Read more about fibromyalgiasymptoms


What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause of fibromyalgia is not understood. Sometimes it develops in association with traumatic injuries, illnesses, stress injuries, psychological trauma, or even surgery, but these have not been proven to be the cause of fibromyalgia. It has been suggested that people with fibromyalgia process pain signals differently, and a genetic tendency has also been suggested.

What ar... Read more about fibromyalgiacauses


How is fibromyalgia treated?

Treatment for fibromyalgia begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine whether you have fibromyalgia, you will be asked questions about your symptoms and when symptoms occur, and you will be asked to undergo diagnostic testing. Medications can relieve symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, such as pain and inflammation.

Your health care profession... Read more about fibromyalgiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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