What is Fibromyalgia?



fibromyalgiaFibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain lasting 3 months or longer and is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Fibromyalgia affects three million to six million people in the United States, 95 percent of whom are women.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications or bio-identical hormone replenishment can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.


Currently there are no diagnostic tests, such as x-rays or blood tests, to diagnose fibromyalgia. The symptoms of fibromyalgia may overlap with the symptoms of some other conditions. Some healthcare providers use certain guidelines to help make a diagnosis. According to guidelines set by the American College of Rheumatology, a person may have fibromyalgia if he or she has had both:

  • Chronic widespread pain that affects the right and left sides of the body above and below the waist
  • Pain in at least 11 of 18 possible tender points when light pressure is applied

Tender point locations for fibromyalgia include:

  • Back of the head
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Top of shoulders
  • Front sides of neck
  • Upper chest
  • Outer elbows
  • Upper hips
  • Sides of hips
  • Inner knees

The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache, typically arising from muscles. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.

Fatigue and sleep disturbances
People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is frequently disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea, that further worsen symptoms.

Coexisting conditions

Many people who have fibromyalgia also may have:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Endometriosis
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome


The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. These may include:

  • Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
  • Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
  • Physical or emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia.


While there is no known cure for fybromyalgia, studies have shown balancing your adrenal, thyroid, and ovarian hormones can make a huge difference in fibromyalgia.

Progesterone Therapy

Progesterone is a hormone highly involved in the female menstrual cycle and pregnancy and which is responsible for the regulation of ovulation. Progesterone is also present in the male body in smaller amounts. In certain cases, progesterone therapy may be administered to individuals who are experiencing illnesses or symptoms related to low levels of progesterone in the body. This could be a woman who is not having monthly menstruation, even though she is not menopausal, or for depression related to a hormone imbalance. Because fibromyalgia has been linked to a hormonal imbalance and depression, progesterone therapy may be helpful in treating the symptoms and the underlying cause of the disease.

Addiction Treatment Therapy

As a woman ages,addiction treatment levels in her body begin to fall, which often leads to hormonal imbalances. Because fibromyalgia is linked to increased age and hormonal imbalances, there is some evidence to show that treatment with addiction treatment therapy can have beneficial effects for people suffering from the disease because addiction treatment is linked to muscle health.


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