Fibromyalgia Summary
Fibromyalgia, formerly known as fibrositis, causes chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints without detectable inflammation. Fibromyalgia patients have an unusually low pain threshold. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, abnormal sleep, mental/emotional disturbances, abdominal pain, migraine and tension headaches, and irritable bladder. Treatment of fibromyalgia involves patient education, medication, exercise, and stress reduction.
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Fibromyalgia facts

  • Fibromyalgia causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints without detectable inflammation.
  • Fibromyalgia does not cause body damage or deformity.
  • Fatigue occurs in 90% of patients with fibromyalgia.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome can occur with fibromyalgia.
  • Sleep disorder is common in patients with fibromyalgia.
  • There is no test for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
  • Fibromyalgia can be associated with other rheumatic conditions.
  • Fibromyalgia treatment is most effective with combinations of education, stress reduction, exercise, and medications.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Fibromyalgia is also characterized by restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and disturbances in bowel function. Fibromyalgia is sometimes referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome and abbreviated FMS. Fibromyalgia was formerly known as fibrositis.

While fibromyalgia is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles leading to chronic pain and disability, its cause is currently unknown. The painful tissues involved are not accompanied by tissue inflammation. Therefore, despite potentially disabling body pain, people with fibromyalgia do not suffer from body damage or deformity. Fibromyalgia also does not cause damage to internal body organs. In this sense, fibromyalgia is different from many other rheumatic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and polymyositis). In those diseases, tissue inflammation is the major cause of pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the joints, tendons, and muscles, and it can lead to joint deformity and damage to the internal organs or muscles.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2013

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Fibromyalgia - Symptoms Question: The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Fibromyalgia - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia - Lifestyle Changes Question: What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.) have you found helpful in relieving fibromyalgia pain?