What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread pain throughout the body with no apparent cause or explanation. Fibromyalgia was first described in medical literature over 150 years ago and has been called fibrositis, myofascial pain syndrome, muscular rheumatism, and many other names. The diagnosis for Fibromyalgia became officially recognized in 1990 by the American College of Rheumatology.

In addition to chronic pain, other symptoms include stiffness — especially in the morning — fatigue, sleep disturbance, migraine and tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and intolerance to cold weather.

It was originally thought that the symptoms of Fibromyalgia were caused by stress and worry, which caused additional muscle tension. Although recent studies of people with Fibromyalgia do not show that stress itself causes Fibromyalgia, stress and anxiety can make your condition worse. In fact, the pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia often cause stress and worry, which, in turn, can increase the pain and fatigue — thus creating a vicious cycle.

One of the frustrations experienced by patients and doctors alike is that there are no known medical or laboratory tests which can detect Fibromyalgia.

“Fibromyalgia diagnosis remains difficult because there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia.”

NATIONAL ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed based on the following criteria:

1) Pain in each of the four quadrants of the body for at least 3 months.
2) At least 11 of 18 tender points for at least 3 months.

Studies have shown that 96% of patients with Fibromyalgia have more than four tender points and 94% have more than seven.

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