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Fibromyalgia Information

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 fatigue.

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 recurrent symptoms.

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 systemic lupus.

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:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Rib cage
  • Lower back
  • Thighs
  • Knees
  • Arms (elbows)
  • Buttocks

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.

 
 
 
 

   

 
   

This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.

09/28/2011

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