Fibromyalgia Information

Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia, a heightened and painful response to pressure. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other core symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients may also report difficulty with swallowing,bowel and bladder abnormalities,numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2-4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1.

Fibromyalgia is considered a controversial diagnosis, lacking scientific consensus as to its cause. Many members of the medical community do not consider fibromyalgia a disease because of a lack of abnormalities on physical examination and the absence of objective diagnostic tests.

While historically considered either a musculoskeletal disease or neuropsychiatric condition, evidence from research conducted in the last three decades has revealed abnormalities within the central nervous system affecting brain regions that may be linked both to clinical symptoms and research phenomena. These studies show a correlation, but not causation. Some research suggests that alterations in the central nervous system might be the result of childhood stress, or prolonged or severe stress. Although there is as yet no cure for fibromyalgia, some treatments have been demonstrated by controlled clinical trials to be effective in reducing symptoms, including medications, behavioral interventions, patient education, and exercise.

Wikipedia, Fibromyalgia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia (as of Mar 27, 2010)

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