Question

Fibromyalgia

What is fibromyalgia?

A Answers (12)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered

    Fibromyalgia is a painful medical disorder that affects your muscles, joints, and tendons. The pain may be especially bad when pressure is applied to "tender points." These may be on the back of your head, elbows, shoulders, knees, hip joints and around your neck. Fibromyalgia often causes fatigue, and makes it difficult to sleep, which makes fatigue even worse. Your doctor can diagnose fibromyalgia. 


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  • Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes aches and pain all over the body, and involves "tender points" on specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs that hurt when pressure is put on them.

    This information is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

  • Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic, generalized pain syndrome of unknown origin. Although pain and tenderness are its defining features, patients also complain of fatigue, sleep disturbance, non-cardiac chest pain, depression and poor concentration. 75 percent of patients also report chronic fatigue, which contributes to the disability and impairment that some patients face.

    Fibromyalgia can have a severe impact on patients. Chronic pain can lead to difficulty doing routine physical tasks. One patient referred to it as "a body toothache that stays with me all the time."

    An estimated 20 to 40 percent of patients with fibromyalgia experience mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. This is not surprising given the multiple symptoms and difficulty with diagnosis.

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  • Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that causes bodywide -- head to toe -- pain and tenderness to touch. Along with other symptoms, pain and tenderness wax and wane over time. Fibromyalgia affects people physically, cognitively, and socially. Approximately 10 million Americans (2-4%) have FM with a ratio of about eight to two, women over men. It occurs in people of all ages, including children. The literal translation of the word fibromyalgia is pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. But FM is much more than pain and presents with many other symptoms that vary from person to person.
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  • AHealthwise answered

    Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread muscle and soft tissue pain and tenderness, especially in the trunk, neck, and shoulders. The pain of fibromyalgia can often be severe enough to disrupt a person's daily work and activities, but symptoms can usually be controlled through a combination of exercise, sleep, stress management, and sometimes medicine.

    Other symptoms that may occur with fibromyalgia include:

    • Pain at certain points on the body (called tender points).
    • Disturbed, unrestful sleep (especially frequent waking during the night).
    • Fatigue.
    • Morning stiffness.
    • Depression.

    Experts do not know the exact cause of fibromyalgia. As with many conditions that cause chronic pain, depression, stress, and sleep problems are common in people who have fibromyalgia and may make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.

    Treatment for fibromyalgia focuses on breaking the cycle of pain and decreased physical activity. Home treatment, especially exercise and improving sleep, is usually most important. In some cases, medicine may be needed to help relieve pain and improve sleep problems.


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  • ADebra Fulghum Bruce PhD, Healthcare, answered
    Fibromyalgia is an arthritis-like ailment that causes intense pain everywhere—the back, neck, arms, and legs. In fact, if there are not many areas of pain involved, then it is not typical fibromyalgia.

    The severity of the pain may vary from day to day. However, in most causes, the pain is relentless, with fatigue that can be as severe and limiting as the pain itself. With fibromyalgia there is also morning stiffness, poor sleep (often, the pain awakens the sufferer), anxiety and depression, difficulty concentrating, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome with abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, urinary burning and frequency, restless legs, mouth dryness, and swelling and tingling in the hands, along with the typical trigger points over the body. For most patients with fibromyalgia, the pain and fatigue interfere with their career, their family responsibilities, and all their personal relationships. The patients’ frustration is made worse by the fact that they do not look sick or injured, so most family and friends simply do not understand why there is so much limitation and pain.
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  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered

    Chronic fatigue syndrome and its painful cousin fibromyalgia represent an energy crisis where the body is spending more energy than it is able to make. When this occurs, the person "blows a fuse" called the hypothalamus - a major control center in the brain which regulates sleep, hormonal function, temperature, and other critical functions. Decreased energy in the muscles also results in chronic muscle shortening and pain (think writer’s cramp or even rigor mortis).

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  • AMichael Breus, PhD, Psychology, answered

    Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the muscles and soft tissue. It's considered the most common arthritis-related illness after osteoarthritis, and its hallmark symptoms include chronic pain in the muscles, fatigue and sleep problems. It can be difficult to diagnose because there is no single test for the ailment, which is why doctors have to rule out other conditions before diagnosing fibromyalgia.

    More than 12 million Americans have fibromyalgia. Most of them are women ranging in age from 25 to 60. Women are 10 times more likely to get this disease than men.

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  • Fibromyalgia is a complex, disabling, and chronic (long-term) condition characterized by widespread long-term pain, fatigue, and stiffness in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as well as multiple tender points (places on the body where slight pressure causes pain). In addition to muscular pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia may also be associated with sleep problems, depression, and an inability to think clearly.

    Some medical experts prefer the term fibromyalgia syndrome, arguing that fibromyalgia is not its own disease due to lacking scientific consensus about its cause. They also argue that there is a lack of abnormalities on physical examination and an absence of objective diagnostic tests. A diagnosis may be based on a pain index, the presence of key symptoms, and a measure of the severity of the symptoms. According to the American College of Rheumatology guidelines, fibromyalgia patients must have moderate-to-severe pain throughout the body for at least three months. Patients must also have at least 11 tender points (out of a total possible of 18) that are unusually sensitive when mild-to-firm pressure is applied.

    Fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease and generally does not lead to other conditions or diseases. It may, however, lead to pain, depression, and lack of sleep. The problems associated with fibromyalgia may disrupt family or work relationships and performance, which may cause frustration and depression. Other conditions that may occur in fibromyalgia patients include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches, and muscle ache.

    There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, some treatments are effective in reducing symptoms, such as medications, behavioral interventions, support groups, patient education, and exercise. In mild cases, a reduction in stress and certain lifestyle changes may be enough to manage the disease. These changes may include participation in counseling, regular exercise, physical therapy, healthy sleep habits, and stress reduction.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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  • ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    The term fibromyalgia comes from the Latin root "fibro," meaning fibrous or connective tissue, and the Greek roots "myo," meaning muscles and "algos," meaning pain. So, fibromyalgia literally means a pain that affects the muscles and connective tissues. This pain is likely to be widespread, because the body is basically made up of muscles and connective tissue.
  • ANicholas D Suite, Neurology, answered on behalf of MDLIVE

    Fibromyalgia is a painful and sometimes disabling syndrome whose cause is not fully known. It tends to affect more women than men, and is characterized by body aches and pain, fatigue, depression, and inability to resume normal function. For many years it was thought to be a purely psychiatric illness, related to depression. Recently there has been more thoughtful attention paid to understanding its increasing prevalence and ways to treat it. Now, the consensus in the medical field is that there are both physical and psychological components to this illness, and that it can be managed by a combination of medication, physical therapy/exercise, and psychological support. The cause of fibromyalgia remains elusive however, but various studies have looked at the possibility of chronic viral infections, prior physical or emotional trauma, and depression. Thankfully the medical community is taking this condition more seriously, and significant advances in treatment options are expected in the future, as more research is conducted.

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  • AChallenge America answered
    Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread (on both sides of the body and above and below the waist) stiffness and pain lasting longer than three months. Additional symptoms may include abnormal pain, headaches,  numbness in hands and feet, sleep disturbance, fatigue and psychological distress. More Gulf War veterans have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia than non-Gulf War veterans.
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