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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that affects the entire body. People with this disorder suffer from pain, fatigue, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and more. For many years, the disease was considered to be an emotional problem "created" by people who were anxious or depressed. Some physicians think that this and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same disorder.

Symptoms

People with fibromyalgia frequently suffer from pain. This is usually an "all over the body ache" like you have during the flu. Muscles are sore and tender, and they may ache, throb or have shooting or stabbing pain. Some people experience an intense burning sensation. Pain and stiffness is generally worse in the morning. Fatigue can vary from mild to complete.

People with this disorder often describe feeling like they are in a brain fog. Insomnia is also a common symptom. They may fall asleep, but they have too much brain activity to remain asleep. Other sleep disorders like apnea, teeth grinding and restless leg syndrome are often found in people with fibromyalgia.

Irritable bowel syndrome (constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and nausea) is also associated with this problem. Acid reflux may also be a symptom. Recurring headaches and migraines are found in 70% of people suffering from fibromyalgia.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) also occurs in about ¼ of all fibromyalgia patients. Other common symptoms of this disorder include premenstrual syndrome, painful periods, chest pain, memory impairment, numbness, muscle twitching, irritable bladder, dizziness, skin sensitivities, the feeling that the extremities are swollen, impaired coordination and dry eyes and mouth. Some are also overly sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights and some medications.

Causes

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. There are triggers that may precipitate the onset, however. These triggers include bacterial or viral infection, a severe injury, or developing another disorder like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. There may also be a hereditary factor.

Cautions

See your doctor when the muscles in your neck, shoulders, chest, hips, back or buttocks become so tender that pressing them makes you jump from the pain. If your muscle pain is accompanied by a fever, depression or trouble sleeping, or if your all-over achiness has lasted longer than three months, make an appointment as soon as you can.

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