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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

Definition

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic, and disabling disorder. It causes widespread pain. It also causes poor sleep and fatigue.

Fibromyalgia Trigger Points
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Causes

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It may be related to abnormal processing of pain.

Conditions that are commonly associated with fibromyalgia include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic headache, such as tension headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Female urethral syndrome (irritable bladder)
  • Autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

Risk Factors

Fibromyalgia is more common in women, and in people aged 20-60 years old. Physical or mental stress may also increase your chance of getting fibromyalgia.

Symptoms

Symptoms and severity of fibromyalgia are different for everyone.

Fibromyalgia may cause:

  • Generalized pain and tenderness that can:
    • Be moderate to severe
    • Feel stabbing, shooting, achy, or throbbing
    • Be widespread and chronic
    • Be associated with muscle twitching
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Poor sleep
  • Reduced physical endurance
  • Problems with concentration, thought, or memory
  • Sensitivity to noises, light, or odors

Factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms include:

  • Physical injury
  • Weather changes, especially cold, damp weather
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Overexertion
  • Medical illness
  • Surgery

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis is usually based on reported symptoms and tenderness in specific areas of the body during the physical exam.

Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed when pain or tenderness is present in more than 7 locations and consistent for more than 3 months.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to relieve or control the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent fibromyalgia.

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