About This Condition
Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome with no known cause or cure. Its predominant symptom is pain in the fibrous tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, although other symptoms may be experienced.
Research has demonstrated that the axis connecting the three glands primarily responsible for the stress response (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenals) may be dysfunctional in people with fibromyalgia.1 Inflammation of the involved structures is generally absent in fibromyalgia.
Of the estimated three to six million people2 affected by this disorder in the United States, the vast majority are women between 25 and 45 years of age.
Trigger-point pain at characteristic locations is the defining symptom of fibromyalgia. The most commonly affected locations are on the occiput (nape of the neck), the neck itself, shoulders, trunk, low back, and thighs. Other symptoms may also be experienced, including fatigue, chest pain, low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, insomnia, frequent abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.3
Low-impact exercise programs to improve aerobic fitness, stretching techniques to relax tense muscles, and cognitive therapy for coping with stress and emotional disorders are recommended treatments.