What is Fibromyalgia (fye-bro-mye-AL-ja) ?

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome which is not due to tissue damage or inflammation, and is fundamentally different from rheumatic disorders and many other pain conditions.  It is a chronic pain syndrome in the tendons, ligaments, and other fibrous connective tissues in the body. Doctors classify Fibromyalgia as a syndrome, which means it has a group of signs, symptoms and characteristics that occur together.

The question, “What is fibromyalgia?” is a complicated one that doctors and patients have been trying for decades to answer. It affects more than 6 million people in the United States.

Fibromyalgia is also considered a disorder causing aching muscles, tiredness, sleep disorders, and fatigue, associated with raised levels of the brain chemicals that transmit nerve signals neurotransmitters.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Cognitive and memory problems (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Morning stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Numbness or tingling of hands and feet
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Widespread pain
  • Fatigue
  • Un-refreshing sleep
  • Abdominal complaints
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

What types of pain do you feel with Fibromyalgia?

Everyone may describe their pain a little differently because of its intensity.  However, the common descriptions of Fibro pain are:

  • Burning
  • Gnawing
  • Radiating
  • Shooting
  • Dull deep aching
  • Blunt jabs
  • Cramping
  • Grinding
  • Lightening bolts
  • Pulsating
  • Tingling
  • Throbbing
  • Stabbing

How to help reduce the discomfort of Fibromyalgia pain

  • Taking medicines as prescribed
  • Moise heat and Massage
  • TENS Unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Injections
  • Hydrotherapy/laughter therapy
  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Stretching
  • Making work changes if necessary

If you are taking medications, it is good to consult the following resource for updates or questions you may have:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Toll Free: 888–INFO–FDA (888–463–6332)

For more information:  The Painful Reality of Fibromyalgia

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