Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with symptoms very similar to arthritis. This illness is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 60, but can occur in young adults, and men. Fibromyalgia is a widespread pain condition affecting 4 or 5 percent of the population. Although pain is felt in the skin, muscles and tendons, we believe the cause is an abnormal central nervous system. The central nervous system interprets non-painful stimuli such as a touch as being painful.
Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues: it is actually an arthritis-related syndrome. The American College of Rheumatology diagnoses fibromyalgia patients as having a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body (e.g. above the waist on both sides; below the waist on both sides of the body) for three months or more, and pain at 11 of 18 "tender point" sites.
Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary syndrome characterized by muscular pain, or as a secondary syndrome to other rheumatic diseases. It is possible to have fibromyalgia syndrome in conjunction with other rheumatic diseases. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or ankylosing spondylitis are at increased risk of also developing fibromyalgia syndrome. Those patients may wonder if they have symptoms which are common to two conditions (i.e. overlapping symptoms) or if they actually have two distinct conditions. Fibromyalgia symptoms are often confused with symptoms typically linked to another condition. Fibromyalgia symptoms can mimic or overlap symptoms associated with other rheumatic diseases. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it takes about five years on average to get an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
This pain affects the ligaments, tendons, and muscles throughout the body. Fibromyalgia patients often feel like they are aching all over; muscles are sore, stiff, and overworked. Muscle twitches are also common in fibromyalgia, adding to the pain of the illness. Sometimes muscles can even feel like they are burning. Because Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder the pain can continue for months and even years. Unfortunately, treatment is often difficult to come by and many people must suffer in silence. But fibromyalgia pain generally does not worsen over time, and it doesn't cause independant inflammation of the internal organs or muscles.
Fibromyaliga syndrome affects all ages and backgrounds. Fibromyalgia does seem to affect women more than men, especially during the childbearing years. Children and the elderly can can also be affected. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a very frustrating illness to have, as so few people truly understand the condition.
Though there is no cure, there are a wide number of treatments available for fibromyaliga. Medical treatments and drug therapies can help alleviate your pain. Alternative treatments are also widely popular. Think about joining a support group for fibromyalgia sufferers so you have someone to share your thoughts with.
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