Fibromyalgia is a common condition that affects as many as 1 in every 50 people, with most being women. It is characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points throughout the body. These tender points are specific places on the body that hurt when even the slightest pressure is put on them.
No one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia. However, many researchers believe that it is due to problems with how the nervous system processes pain.
Your body contains a large network of nerves, which carry electric signals to and from your brain. Researchers think that in people with fibromyalgia, the nerve fibers that send information from the body to the brain become overexcited, a condition known as "central sensitization." In this "wound-up" state, a person may become overly sensitive to heat, a tap on the arm may feel like a punch, and even a soft blanket can cause the body to ache.
In addition to problems in the nervous system, an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain may play a role in fibromyalgia.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may have a lot of questions or concerns, such as: Who does fibromyalgia affect? What medications are available for it? And how can it be managed?
In the next few minutes we hope to answer these questions and help you better understand this condition.