What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially. In the past fibromyalgia has also been referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome,fibromyositis and fibrositis. It is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. Symptoms can wax and wain, with severe symptoms being extremely debilitating and can interfere with an individuals basic daily activities.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms and severity of fibromyalgia vary from person to person. It can affect sleep, mood, concentration and the ability to perform everyday activities. Along with pain, fatigue and tenderness, some people also experience problems with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), including diarrhea, constipation, bloating and stomach pain when they have fibromyalgia.
Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Anxiety, mood swings
- Sensitivity to light, noise, certain odors, and even touch in some cases.
- Dry mouth, skin and eyes
- Very painful menstrual periods
What Causes Fibromyalgia
The main cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Doctors have determined that the central nervous system has some kind of fault when processing pain information, therefore patients who have this disorder have increased pain. Studies have also shown physiological abnormalities in patients with fibromyalgia, namely elevated nuerotransmitters which help to transmit pain signals. This elevation causes the pain-processing areas to be turned up.
The National Fibromyalgia Association has a great website that has lots of information.