fibromyalgia syndrome is a disorder in which the sufferer is
chronically tired and sleepless, has muscle aches and stiffness
that are sometimes incapacitating, and complains of tenderness
when pressure is applied to certain parts of the body. These
tender points are usually in muscle in or near:
- base of the
- upper chest
- lower back
- elbows and
a doctor to diagnose fibromyalgia, he must detect at least
four separate tender points (some authorities suggest 11 or more).
are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia symptoms
involving several parts of the body.
fibromyalgia is triggered in people who have suffered an injury or
infection or another disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis), spent
time in a damp or cold environment, or who get insufficient sleep.
When it occurs in older people, it frequently accompanies
osteoarthritis of the spine but it is not a component of
is considered somewhat mysterious because it has no recognized
cause and some physicians have tended to believe its symptoms are
physical manifestations of stress, anxiety or depression. It is
sometimes compared with another puzzling disorder
called chronic fatigue syndrome. Both are gradually becoming more
accepted as a medical problem.
physicians prescribe anti-inflammatory agents, muscle relaxants
and/or antidepressant medications for their patients with
fibromyalgia. Each of these is seldom completely effective on its
own and a combination of treatment measures may help.
lifestyle changes seem to alleviate the symptoms as much as the
drugs. Examples of some of these changes are:
- Exercise to
improve the patient’s physical condition and flexibility
people also try “alternative”
therapies such as acupressure, acupuncture, or osteopathic
manipulation. Relief varies from person to person.