Question:

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia: the Pain With No Cause

Characterized by widespread aches and pains without any evidence indicating any other disease, fibromyalgia is a condition that is not life-threatening but can be life-altering. Because the pain is so widespread and hard to manage, people suffering from fibromyalgia often become depressed, sleep deprived, and lose self esteem.

As far as joint pain causes go, fibromyalgia is not a serious one in that it isn't progressive, crippling or disabling. It is, however, chronic. In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, one must have at least eleven of eighteen specific tender points characteristic of the condition, and this widespread pain must be present in some form or another for at least three months. Tender points are located in the area of the shoulders and elbows, outsides of the hips, insides of the knees, near the buttocks, alongside the vertebrae of the spine, and the back of the head.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Pain that ranges from a deep muscle ache to a burning, throbbing, shooting, or stabbing sensation
  • Intense pain with pressure or palpation of one of the soft tissue tender points
  • Associated symptoms may include irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches and facial pain.

While doctors can't positively diagnose fibromyalgia, the presence of enough symptoms can be enough proof. These symptoms can persist in varying degrees for years, or come and go at random. Managing and achieving fibromyalgia pain relief is an ongoing challenge for patients, but one that must be met in order to maintain quality of life.

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