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Fibromyalgia

Also called: Fibromialgia, Muscular Rheumatism, Fibrositis, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Psychogenic Rheumatism, Fibromyositis, Chronic Rheumatism, Tension Myalgia

- Summary
- About fibromyalgia
- Related conditions
- Risk factors and causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment and prevention
- Ongoing research
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

Summary

Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome in which the central nervous system translates normally nonpainful stimuli into pain. A range of symptoms may occur, including widespread and localized pain, fatigue, sleep problems and mood disturbances such as depression. These symptoms vary in intensity and come and go over time.

Migraines are severe headaches often accompanied by vision changes (aura), nausea and/or vomiting.Certain conditions, such as poor sleep, physical activity and anxiety, may aggravate the symptoms. Though fibromyalgia is not a progressive or life-threatening condition, it impairs quality of life. Patients often have other conditions including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ disorder or restless leg syndrome.

Fibromyalgia mainly affects women. Its cause or causes are not known. There are many theories, including abnormalities in brain chemicals, infections, trauma and genetics.

Laboratory and imaging tests cannot identify the condition. The American College of Rheumatology has established two criteria for diagnosis: widespread pain and the presence of 11 of 18 specified tender areas known as trigger points.

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, but the symptoms can be treated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved one medication, an anticonvulsant, specifically to treat fibromyalgia. Antidepressants and analgesics may also relieve symptoms. Nutrition, exercise and sleep therapy can help. Some patients benefit from complementary treatments such as massage, acupuncture, relaxation techniques or biofeedback. 

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Review Date: 01-25-2007
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