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What is Fibromyalgia? — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 28, 2010 at 8:39 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What is Fibromyalgia?


Fibromyalgia means "pain in muscles and fibrous tissue." It has been described as feeling like a never-ending flu. In the past, it has been known by many other names such as chronic muscle pain syndrome, fibrositis, tension myalgias and psychogenic rheumatism. This disease is not life threatening, but if you have it, it may never go away completely.


The foremost symptom associated with fibromyalgia is pain. The pain may be limited to certain parts of the body or be felt throughout. The pain may be mild or life-altering in severity. It is often described as burning, throbbing, aching or stabbing. And it will probably get worse when you are trying to relax. The pain is usually felt in the:

  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Lower back
  • Rib cage
  • Thighs

People suffering from Fibromyalgia might also feel tired but unable to sleep. They have sensitive areas that hurt when pressed, usually in the knee, back, neck, elbow, hip and shoulder. Officially, you must have 11 or more of these sensitive areas and experience the wide-spread pain for more than three months to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Not all doctors agree with the established guidelines and think that the criteria are too strict.

Who has Fibromyalgia?

It is estimated that 3-6 million people in the United States have it, and 80 percent of them are women. Most of these women are between 20 and 50. Usually, people develop symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40, but children can get it, as can adults over 40. Men and women often have different Fibromyalgia symptoms. Women usually feel pain throughout their body, while men are more likely to have facial pain or pain in a part of the body that was injured.

Risk factors

Unfortunately, doctors don't know what causes Fibromyalgia, but there are several risk factors that may cause it, such as:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • A physical injury that harms the spine, nerves and brain
  • Emotional trauma
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Gender: women get Fibromyalgia more often than men
  • Having a relative with the disease
  • Depression
  • Having a rheumatic disease like lupus, ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis

How it affects your life

Fibromyalgia is not a condition that gets worse with time, and it doesn't cause other diseases or conditions. But you may experience depression, sleeplessness and pain, which can keep you from fulfilling your duties at work and at home. It can also affect your relationships with others. This condition can be frustrating because it is hard to diagnose and is often misunderstood .

How to treat it

Doctors may use a combination of medication and therapy to relieve the pain associated with Fibromyalgia. Some common treatments are:

  • Anti-inflammatory pain relivers like Tylenol and ibuprofen
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Anti-seizure medication (pregabalin)
  • Sleeping pills
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Acupuncture


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