Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. It has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression and anxiety. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with:
- Widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months
- Tenderness or pain in at least 11 tender points when pressure is applied. These tender points cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.
- Widespread chronic muscle pain
- Fatigue and sleep problems
- Cognitive difficulties or memory issues
- Chronic headaches
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Jaw pain
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Skin and chemical sensitivities
Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors. These may include genetics, infections, physical, emotional trauma or auto immune issues.
Pain medication for fibromyalgia may do more harm than good. Read about the dangers here.