Fibromyalgia – Patient Education Overview

Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting 5 million Americans over the age of 18. It is associated with fatigue and muscle pain including tender points, which hurt when pressure is exerted on them. Spots are specific to the neck and shoulder areas, back, hips, and extremities.

Symptoms linked to fibromyalgia include:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Morning stiffness
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Difficulty with focus, concentration and memory
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet

Fibromyalgia can occur in previously healthy individuals or coupled with other chronic pain disorders such as interstitial cystitis, inflammatory bowel disease, temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ), or vulvodynia, in addition to chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal arthritis. As a result, getting the proper patient education to determine the cause may require visiting more than one doctor.

The cause of this condition is unknown, although it has been seen more frequently with stress, trauma, certain diseases and repeat injuries. It has also been postulated that a gene may be involved that lowers pain thresholds in susceptible individuals.

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