What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a condition that causes severe pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia experience increased pain sensitivity, fatigue and muscle stiffness. Other symptoms include headaches, difficulty sleeping, restless legs and irritable bowel syndrome. Some people also describe it as having swollen hands or feet. There are many unanswered questions about what causes fibromyalgia. It’s suggested that the condition can be triggered by emotional stress such as from injury or infection; having an operation, giving birth, the death of a loved one, or the breakdown of a relationship. It’s unclear how many people have fibromyalgia, but research suggests the condition typically affects around 7 times as many women as men. It’s more likely to develop between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can occur in people of any age – young and old alike. Estimates suggest that nearly 1 in 20 people are affected by fibromyalgia to some level. The symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome are believed to be the result of abnormalities in pain transmitters within the brain and spinal cord as opposed to the peripheral nervous system. Doctors who assess their patients may misdiagnose and stress that it’s ‘simply in the mind’. The nerve and neurotransmitter process however causes pain, warning of tissue injury. Fibromyalgia pain can last for a short or a long time, depending on the symptoms.