Fibromyalgia is a very complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million individuals in the United States and approximately three to six percent of the world population. For those suffering from fibromyalgia, the disease causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch and can affect the entire body. Fibromyalgia symptoms can include stiffness, pain, fatigue, tiredness, depression/anxiety, memory, sleep issues, concentration, and headaches including at times migraines. Fibromyalgia symptoms can be very severe and debilitating affecting a persons’ work, social and daily life.
The criteria, established by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990, contains a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for the duration of three months or more and pain in at least 11 of the 18 designated tender points when pressure is applied. In 2000, the American College of Rheumatology ceased using the criteria of tender points and instead focused on pain being widespread and accompanied by symptoms such as sleep problems, problems with thinking and fatigue. Unfortunately, those who suffer with fibromyalgia typically have normal results with conventional testing. A physician knowledgeable about the disease, such as a rheumatologist, is necessary to make the diagnosis in part by ruling out other causes.
The National Fibromyalgia Institute (NFI) website states that fibromyalgia is marked by profound, chronic, and widespread pain that can migrate to all parts of the body in varying intensities. The pain can be described as stabbing, shooting, muscle aching, throbbing and twitching. Neurologists have noted that patients with this disease can experience numbness and tingling, aggravated by stress, weather and movements.