Abdomen | Rheumatology | Fibromyalgia (Disease)


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS or fibromyalgia) is a term used to describe a cluster of symptoms that may include widespread pain and tenderness in ‘trigger points’ on the body that are unusually sore to touch. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary widely from mild to severe.

The defining symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic, widespread pain, fatigue, and heightened pain in response to tactile pressure (allodynia). Other symptoms may include tingling of the skin, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, muscle twhiching, palpitations, functional bowel disturbances, and chronic sleep disturbances.

Causes and Risk factors

It is not known what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors that may include: genetics, infections, physical or emotional trauma.

Many patients experience cognitive dysfunction (known as fibrofog), which may be characterized by impaired concentration, problems with short and long-term memory, short-term memory consolidation, impaired speed of performance, inability to multi-task, cognitive overload, and diminished attention span.

Fibromyalgia is often associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Other symptoms often attributed to fibromyalgia that may possibly be due to a comorbid disorder include myofascial pain syndrome, also referred to as chronic myofascial pain, diffuse non-dermatomal paresthesias, functional bowel disturbances and irritable bowel syndrome, genitourinary symptoms and interstitial cystitis, dermatological disorders, headaches, myoclonic twhiches, and symptomatic hypoglycemia.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for fibromyalgia includes a variety of medications to control pain, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, anticonvulsants, and oral corticosteroids. Corticosteroids may be administered by injection to some trigger points. Other treatments include antidepressants, massage therapy, and mental health counseling.