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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a long-term (chronic) condition that can cause widespread pain and tenderness over much of the body. It's quite common – as many as 1 person in  20 may have it, but it's seven times more common in women than men

In the past, other terms were used to describe the condition, including muscular rheumatism and fibrositis. The condition may even have been misdiagnosed as degenerative joint disease.

Symptoms can include:-

  • widespread pain

  • increased sensitivity to pain

  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)

  • muscle stiffness

  • difficulty sleeping

  • problems with mental processes (known as "fibro-fog") – such as problems with memory and concentration

  • headaches

  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating

These were all problems for me. 

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it's thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.

It's also suggested that some people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia because of genes inherited from their parents.

In many cases, the condition appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as:

  • an injury or infection

  • giving birth

  • having an operation

  • the breakdown of a relationship 

  • the death of a loved one


Sources: Arthritis Research UK and NHS

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