Written by eHealth Navigator

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have “tender points” on the body. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. These points hurt when pressure is put on them.

People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, such as:

a. Trouble sleeping
b. Morning stiffness
c. Headaches
d. Painful menstrual periods
e. Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
f. Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”)

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Many experts believe that fibromyalgia is associated with changes in the processing of pain signals in the brain and spinal cord.  There may be a number of factors involved.  Fibromyalgia has been linked to:

a. Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
b. Repetitive injuries
c. Illness
d. Certain diseases

Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 6 to 12 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. People with certain other diseases may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:

a. Rheumatoid arthritis
b. Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
c. Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis)

Women who have a family member with fibromyalgia may be more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:42AM