Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet
Fibromyalgia is a type of soft-tissue rheumatism (possibly caused by a invading organism), which is a broad classification used to describe conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the joints as well as the muscles and bones. The most prominent symptom of this condition is widespread pain that occurs all over the body and lasts for several months to years. This pain may be specifically felt on the body’s tender points: areas around the head, neck, shoulders, buttocks, elbows, and knees. Fibromyalgia is usually accompanied by fatigue, and even depression. It is a commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed disease that requires special care and lifestyle changes for treatment.
Here is the definition of fibromyalgia according to the American College of Rheumatology’s 1990 Criteria for the Classification of Fibromyalgia:
1. History of Widespread Pain.
Definition. Pain is considered widespread when all of the following are present: pain in the left side of the body, pain in the right side of the body, pain above and below the waist. In addition, axial skeletal pain (cervical spine or anterior chest or thoracic spine or low back) must be present. In this definition, shoulder and buttock pain is considered as pain for each involved side. “Low back” pain is considered lower segment pain.
2. Pain in eleven of the eighteen tender point sites on digital palpation.
Definition. Pain, on digital palpation, must be present in at least eleven of the body’s eighteen trigger points. Digital palpation should be performed with an approximate force of four kilograms for a tender point to be considered “positive” the subject must state that the palpation was painful. ‘Tender is not to be considered “painful”. The trigger points include the following sites:
- Occiput: bilateral, at the suboccipital muscle insertions.
- Low Cervical: bilateral, at the anterior aspects of the intertransverse spaces at C5-C7.
- Trapezius: bilateral, at the midpoint of the upper border.
- Supraspinatus: bilateral, at origins, above the scapula spine near the medial border.
- Second Rib: bilateral, at the second costochondral junctions, just lateral to the junctions on upper surfaces.
- Lateral Epicondyle: bilateral, 2cm distal to the epicondyles.
- Gluteal: bilateral, in upper outer quadrants of buttocks in anterior fold of muscle.
- Greater trochanter: bilateral, posterior to the trochanteric prominence.
- Knee: bilateral, at the medial fat pad proximal to the joint line.
*For classification purposes, patients will be said to have Fibromyalgia if both criteria are satisfied. Widespread pain must have been present for at least 3 months. The presence of a second clinical disorder does not exclude the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
In order to meet the research criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a patient must experience both of these symptoms for at least three months. However, as these symptoms are difficult to classify, some heath care providers often diagnose the illness without meeting these strict criteria. Nevertheless, in most cases, a physician will come to this diagnosis after ruling out all other conditions that could be causing the patient’s pain and fatigue.
Pain: Muscle pain is the most common symptom of this condition. The pain is usually widespread throughout the body although it may start in one general location and radiate to other parts over time.
Fatigue: Chronic fatigue is a common side effect of fibromyalgia as the pain and restlessness of fibromyalgia also makes it difficult to sleep. Research has shown that fibromyalgia causes abnormal sleep patterns, such as the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This condition is often associated with a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, where deep sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. Therefore, people who suffer from fibromyalgia rarely get a restful night’s sleep.
Depression and Anxiety: It is easy to become anxious and depressed when you are exhausted and in pain all of the time. Roughly one quarter of all fibromyalgia sufferers require treatment for clinical depression.
Other Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include muscle stiffness, headaches, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, vertigo, digestive disorders, difficulty with balance, chest pain, short term memory loss or difficulty with cognitive function, and difficulty concentrating.
There is still much that remains a mystery about the cause and disease fibromyalgia. The exact cause of the condition continues to elude researchers, although they have begun to develop several theories about what triggers fibromyalgia. Possible culprits include stress, injury or physical trauma, viruses, emotional trauma, lyme disease and a weakened immune system.
- Proper Diet and Nutrition.
- The Fibromyalgia support supplement Fibro-Balance®.
- Exercise and stretching.
- Body detoxification doing a liver, gallbladder, intestinal and parasite cleanse.
- Eliminating diet drinks, coffee and alcohol.
- Emotional release techniques.
- Rest Quiet Sleep Patches to help you sleep.
- The Terminator II device.
A Fibromyalgia Support Group can keep you in touch with the latest events. For instance, May 12th of every year is “Fibromyalgia Awareness Day” On this day, most Fibromyalgia Support Groups will offer seminars and other educational opportunities to help teach others about fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. May 12th has been recognized as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day for eleven years. At http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org/ there are active forums so you can talk with others.