Fibromyalgia is described as inflammation of the fibrous or connective tissue of the
body. Widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points characterize these
conditions. Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, and fibromyositis are names given to a set of
symptoms believed to be caused by the same general problem.
Fibromyalgia Information about causes
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known. Sometimes it occurs in several members of
a family, suggesting that it may be an inherited disorder. People with fibromyalgia are
most likely to complain of three primary symptoms: muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and
Pain is the major symptom with aches, tenderness, and stiffness of multiple muscles,
joints, and soft tissues. The pain also tends to move from one part of the body to
another. It is most common in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, hips, and back.
Although the pain is present most of the time and may last for years, the severity of the
pain is changeable and dependent on individual patient perception.
Symptoms of fatigue may result from the individual's chronic pain coupled with anxiety
about the problem and how to find relief. The inflammatory process also produces chemicals
that are known to cause fatigue. Other common symptoms are tension headaches, difficulty
swallowing, recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhea, and numbness or tingling of the
extremities. Stress, anxiety, depression, or lack of sleep can increase symptoms.
Intensity of symptoms is variable ranging from gradual improvement to episodes of
General information about Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by widespread
pain in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Some other problems commonly
linked with fibromyalgia include fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches,
numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety. Fibromyalgia can develop on its own,
or secondary to other musculoskeletal conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or
Information about Fibromyalgia diagnosis
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia requires a history of a least three months of widespread
pain, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites. These tender-point
sites include fibrous tissue or muscles of the:
- Rib cage
- Lower back
- Arms (elbows)
The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with
defined tender points. Tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain
syndromes. (Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a
source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure.)
Fibromyalgia pain can mimic the pain experienced by people with various types of
arthritis. With fibromyalgia syndrome alone, the significant joint swelling, destruction,
and deformity seen in patients with diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis does not occur.
The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing,
shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to waken
with body aches and stiffness.
For some patients, pain improves during the day and increases again during the evening,
though many patients with fibromyalgia have day-long, unrelenting pain. Pain can increase
with activity; cold, damp weather; anxiety; and stress.