What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have “tender points” on the body. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. These points hurt when pressure is put on them.
People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, such as:
- Trouble sleeping
- Morning stiffness
- Painful menstrual periods
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. There may be a number of factors involved. Fibromyalgia has been linked to:
- Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
- Repetitive injuries
- Certain diseases
Fibromyalgia can also occur on its own.
Some scientists think that a gene or genes might be involved in fibromyalgia. The genes could make a person react strongly to things that other people would not find painful.
Who is Affected by Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia affects as many as 1 in 50 Americans. Most people with fibromyalgia are women. However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age.
People with certain other diseases may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
- Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis)
Women who have a family member with fibromyalgia may be more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves.