The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and there is no known cure. Anyone can get it, but it is most common in middle-aged women. People with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases are particularly likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease. A disease is a medical condition with a specific cause or causes along with recognizable signs and symptoms. Whereas, a syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based on a history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months and the presence of tender points. Pain is considered to be widespread when it affects all four quadrants of the body; that is, you must have pain in both your right and left sides as well as above and below the waist to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia makes you feel tired and causes muscle pain and “tender points.” Tender points hurt when touched, and are on the:
In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience
- morning stiffness
- sleep disturbances
- exercise intolerance
- restless legs syndrome
- temperature sensitivity
- irritable bowel syndrome
- painful menstrual periods
- numbness or tingling of the extremities
- cognitive and memory problems ~ “fibro fog”
Along with a variety of other symptoms.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is.
Treatment often requires a team approach, with your doctor, a physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and most importantly, yourself, all playing an active role to help you improve your quality of life.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time, possibly a lifetime. However, it is not a progressive disease, it is never fatal, and it won’t cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs. The fibromyalgia tired fog condition does improve for some over time.
Some sufferers describe it like living in a fatigue fog.