View Full Version : What is Fibromyalgia?

04-13-05, 01:53 PM
From Pamela Rice Hahn,

Defining Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia -- which is also sometimes referred to as Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Fibromyositis, Fibrositis, or Myofascial pain syndrome -- is a chronic disorder characterized by tenderness in localized areas of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips sometimes referred to as tender points or pressure points.
What are some of the other symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia?

In addition to the tender points, Fibromyalgia is also associated with other body disturbances, including:

* concentration problems
* fatigue
* headaches
* irritable bowel syndrome
* joint discomfort
* morning stiffness
* muscle spasms
* muscle weakness
* musculoskeletal pain
* numbness in hands and feet
* sleep disturbances
* temperature sensitivities
* tingling sensation that may travel throughout the body
* widespread pain in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues

Some Fibromyalgia victims also suffer from anxiety and depression, as a consequence of the illness rather than as a cause of the syndrome.

What are the criteria for a Fibromyalgia diagnosis?

Diagnosis is difficult. Currently there is not a medical test available to diagnosis the condition directly. At the present time, diagnosis is based on patient history and tender point sensitivity. A Fibromyalgia diagnosis requires a history of widespread pain lasting at least three months, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites. These tender-point sites include fibrous tissue or muscles of the:

* Neck
* Shoulders
* Chest
* Rib cage
* Lower back
* Thighs
* Knees
* Arms (elbows)
* Buttocks

The American Academy of Family Physicians illustration of and explanation about the muscles affected by Fibromyalgia tender points, Caring Medical Center illustration identifying the 18 Fibromyalgia Tender Points, and University of Pittsburg Medical Center illustration of the Fibromyalgia Tender Points are graphics that will help pinpoint the exact locations of these tender points and see which muscles are affected.

Long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points is the primary characteristic of fibromyalgia. These Fibromyalgia tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain syndromes. However, unlike tender points, trigger points sometimes occur in isolation and are a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure. The pain associated with a tender point increases upon palpation of that tender point.

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