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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic rheumatoid condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, diffuse tenderness, fatigue, and a number of other seemingly unrelated symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” comes the Latin term fibro (fibrous tissue) and the Greek words myo (muscle) and algia (pain).

One of the hallmark of fibromyalgia is tenderness on palpation of specific sites. In fibromyalgia, the pain in the tissues do not occur with inflammation. This is the reason why this syndrome neither causes joint deformities nor damages internal organs. Fibromyalgia symptoms present in varying degrees. For most patients, the widespread flu-like ache is constant, but for others it comes and goes. The muscles may feel like they were pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and...

No one knows the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but researchers have several theories about what seems to trigger this syndrome. There is also evidence that the development of firbromyalgia involves a variety of factors working together.

Chemical imbalances. Research suggest that in people fibromyalgia, there are important body chemicals that are not within normal range. The reason for excessive or deficient levels are thought to be associated with the interaction between the organs that regulate body chemicals.

Abnormal levels of certain hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands could contribute to fibromyalgia-type symptoms. If these glands do not work as they should, the abnormal hormone levels that they produce can result in sleep difficulties,...

Fibromyalgia symptoms are quite complex and can be so variable. The common symptoms include widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. These symptoms may intensify depending on stress or physical activity, changes in the weather, or even the time of day. Below are the common symptoms of fibromyalgia:

Chronic widespread pain is a prominent feature of fibromyalgia. The patient may complain of 'hurting all over'. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on all four limbs as well as the upper or lower back. The pain usually comes from the soft tissues, muscles and joints.

Tender points are specific sites on the body that are exceptionally sensitive to the touch in people with fibromyalgia. These localized areas of tenderness are often not deep areas of...

Many of the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to other disorders, thus diagnosing fibromyalgia may take a considerable amount of time. Most patients find themselves going through various tests and consulting several doctors before receiving their diagnosis. Primary care physicians may refer their patients to rheumatologist for evaluation and management.

There are no definitive laboratory tests or imaging procedures for fibromyalgia. It is diagnosed based on reported symptoms and physical examination. Fibromyalgia may be suspected in any person who experience muscle and joint pain with no identifiable cause.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia begins with health history taking. The health history consists of a series of questions that will give an overview of the present health...

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