is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers
believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other
cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are much
more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular
joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure
for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain.
The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache that has lasted for at least three months.
To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even
though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia
have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as "fibro fog"
impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
- Other problems. Many people who have fibromyalgia also may experience depression,
headaches, and pain or cramping in the lower abdomen.
The Mayo Clinic.org
Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia
affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women.
However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age.
with certain other diseases may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
- Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).
Source: National Institutes of Health.gov