Fibromyalgia Definition:

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.

*What they don't add in this article, but is very much a reality - is that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon) goes along with this syndrome. I personally have had this thing all my life, but it has gotten much worse after menopause - with no hormones to help keep it in check. Frozen shoulders are definitely a serious problem that comes with it. Dyslexia seems to be another companion problem. I DO think it is a genetic thing- as my family members have some symptoms or another, before me and after me.

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. *They leave out skin patchy pain: areas of skin that suddenly become ULTRA painful for hours and then it stops*

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.

Alternative Names:
Fibromyositis; Fibrositis; Myofascial pain syndrome

Causes, incidence-

The cause of this disorder is unknown. Physical or emotional trauma may play a role in development of the syndrome. A number of lines of evidence suggest that Fibromyalgia patients have abnormal pain transmission responses. *In an newer newspaper article I have read that the
cause it thought to be miscommunication among nerve impulses in the central nervous system, in other words the brain and spinal cord. This "central sensitization" is when the neurons become excitable, exaggerating the pain sensations. As a result FM patients feel intense pain when they should only feel mild fatigue or discomfort.

The disorder has an increased frequency among women 20 to 50 years old. The prevalence of the disease has been estimated between 0.7% and 13% for women, and between 0.2% and 3.9% for men.

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