Fibromyalgia disorder is a rheumatic disorder

Submitted by Dr. Dana Gleeson

Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disorder characterized by chronic achy muscular pain that has no obvious physical cause. The most distinctive feature of fibromyalgia is the existence of certain “tender or trigger points”; eighteen specific spots where the muscles are abnormally tender to the touch. The eighteen points tend to cluster in the base of the skull, neck, shoulders, upper back, chest, knees, elbows, hips and pelvis. Most people describe the pain as being burning, throbbing stabbing, shooting or constant (like a toothache). This pain leads to the chronic stiffness and decreased range of motion in the affected muscle groups.

Fibromyalgia may be accompanied by chronic headaches, extreme fatigue, memory loss, jaw pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and strange sensations in the skin. Other more severe symptoms often involved with this disease include premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, heart palpitations, irritable bladder, dizziness, dry eyes and mouth, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and impaired coordination. Depression is a major factor that accompanies this disorder, and the stress from this has been known to trigger the formation of problems similar to those associated with cardiovascular disease and adrenal gland dysfunction. The immune system can become compromised with fibromyalgia, which can lead to chronic bacterial and viral infections.

To date, over 6 million people are known to be suffering from Fibromyalgia in the United States alone. The symptoms come on gradually and slowly increase in intensity. The pain can be intensified with overexertion, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, grief or trauma. Daily life can be severely impaired due to the chronic pain of this disease. Movements such as lifting, walking or climbing stairs can be very difficult and a large number of people are totally disabled by this condition.

The cause of Fibromyalgia is not known but research evidence has come up with possible links including immune system dysfunction, brain chemical dysfunction, infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, anemia, chronic mercury poisoning, hypoglycemia, chronic yeast, and hypothyroidism.