What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by pain that is chronic and occurs in many different locations throughout the body and increased sensitivity to pressure. Musculoskeletal pain caused by fibromyalgia may also be accompanied by memory, sleep, mood issues, as well as fatigue.
Primary fibromyalgia symptoms include:
- Widespread pain is a pain that affects both sides of your body and above and below your waist. Typically, the pain related to fibromyalgia is a constant dull pain that lasts at least three months.
- Fatigue. Although sleeping for long periods, people with fibromyalgia usually wake up tired and experience fatigue during the day. People who experience fibromyalgia often have a sleep disrupted by pain. Also, fibromyalgia patients may also experience other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. Fibromyalgia patients may also experience a condition known as “fibro fog” that causes problems in paying attention, focusing, and concentrating on a mental task.
Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Extreme feelings of tiredness that affect the ability to complete normal daily activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Abnormal sensations like tingling and numbness
- Stiffness in the joints
- Disturbances with bowel and bladder function
- Impairments in cognitive functioning
Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by mood disorders like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. However, not all people who have fibromyalgia experience all the symptoms of the disorder.
Causes of fibromyalgia
The exact reason fibromyalgia develops is not known. Researchers believe that several factors contribute to its development. The following information is known about the cause of fibromyalgia:
- The presence of certain genes elevates the risk of the condition will occur.
- Fibromyalgia pain seems to result due to neuro-chemical imbalances that cause disturbance in the pain pathways of the brain.
- Some studies suggest that the brain differences seen in people with fibromyalgia may be related to childhood stress or severe or prolonged stress.
- Certain infectious diseases may contribute to the development or worsening of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Up to 8 percent of the population is affected by fibromyalgia. It occurs in women much more often than it does in men.
Fibromyalgia risk factors
- Gender. Women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more often than men.
- Family history. If someone from your parents or siblings experience fibromyalgia, you have a higher risk of this disorder.
- Other ailments. You are at higher risk of fibromyalgia development if you have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or lupus.