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What exactly is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch that may occur body-wide or migrate over the body.  The pain itself comes and goes over time. It affects people in many different ways, including physically, mentally and socially. It’s estimated that 10 million Americans have FM with a ratio of about 8 to 2, women over men, occurring in people of all ages. Even children.

Healthcare providers identify Fibromyalgia based on an amalgamation of symptoms, including tenderness, functionality, fatigue, and overall health.

Some other common symptoms that come along with FM may include depression or anxiety, migraines, tension headaches, pelvic pain, irritable or overactive bladder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), TMJD (including tinnitus), and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).  

At the moment, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, though seeking treatment for pain management and symptom relief often come recommended.  Medications, therapy, and light exercise are the most typical combinations.  

Over the last few years, a number of important research findings have started to clarify the enigma of chronic pain. A lot of these new discoveries reflect a significant relationship to the lingering pain of fibromyalgia. The primary effect of FM is widespread body pain. The principal discovery is the occurrence of focal areas of hyperalgesia, the tender points. Generally, these tender points appear at muscle-tendon junctions, places where mechanical forces are most likely to cause micro-injuries. Many--but not all--FM patients have tender skin and an overall reduction in pain threshold.

Thankfully, the progression of fibromyalgia research has provided new knowledge about centralized pain that is already helping to open doors to better, more effective treatment for people with fibromyalgia.



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