Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include feeling tired to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems, and troubles with memory. Some people also report restless leg syndrome, bowel or bladder problems, numbness and tingling, and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature. Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Other types of chronic pain are also frequently present.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors with half the risk attributed to each. The condition runs in families and many genes are believed to be involved. Environmental factors may include psychological stress, trauma, and certain infections. The pain appears to result from processes in the central nervous system and the condition is referred to as a “central sensitization syndrome”. Fibromyalgia is recognized as a disorder by the US National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology. There is no specific diagnostic test. Diagnosis involves first ruling out other potential causes and verifying that a set number of symptoms are present.
The treatment of fibromyalgia can be difficult. Recommendations often include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Cognitive behavioral therapy may also be helpful. The medications duloxetine, milnacipran, or pregabalin may be used. Use of opioid pain medication is poorly supported by evidence. Dietary supplements also lack evidence to support their use. While fibromyalgia can last a long time, it does not result in death or tissue damage.
Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–8% of the population. Females are affected about two times more often than males. Rates appear similar in different areas of the world and among different cultures. Fibromyalgia was first defined in 1990 with updated criteria in 2011.There is controversy about the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of fibromyalgia. While some feel the diagnosis of fibromyalgia may negatively affect a person, other research finds it to be beneficial. The term “fibromyalgia” is from New Latin, fibro-, meaning “fibrous tissues”, Greek μυώ Myo-, “muscle”, and Greek άλγος egos, “pain”; thus the term literally means “muscle and connective tissue pain”.