Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a rheumatologic disorder characterized by long-standing pain (> 3 months) that originates from tendons, ligaments, bursae and muscle tissue, but without inflammation. FMS is thought to be a multifactorial syndrome characterized in part by abnormal central sensory processing of pain signals.
FMS has been divided into two types: primary and secondary. In primary FMS there is no underlying diagnosis causing the syndrome. Secondary FMS has a probable cause. It may be the result of trauma, such as a car accident, or an overlay of a mechanical or skeletal malalignment.
It is thought that 3-6 million persons in the United States are affected by FMS. The syndrome occurs most commonly in women between the ages of 20 and 50, however children, men and the elderly can also be affected.
The cause of FMS is not known. Research is investigating the possibility that injury or trauma may affect the central nervous system and subsequently lead to the syndrome. Also being studied is the role of stress, and changes in the metabolism in the head and face as well as skeletal muscles. Several studies have suggested that heredity also plays a role.
Because the cause of fibromyalgia is not known, treatment is aimed at managing its symptoms. This is accomplished with a variety of medications, lifestyle and dietary interventions, as well as complementary approaches.
The Medifocus Guide on Fibromyalgia provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing fibromyalgia?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of fibromyalgia?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of fibromyalgia?
What treatment options are available for the management of fibromyalgia?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in fibromyalgia?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for fibromyalgia?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about fibromyalgia?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Is it juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia?. Medical Clinics of North America. 2000
Neuroendocrine deficiency-mediated development and persistence of pain in fibromyalgia: a promising paradigm?. Pain. 2000
Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal pain in working age adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
What happens to the fibromyalgia concept?. Clinical Rheumatology. 2000
Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and myofascial pain syndrome. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2000
Fibromyalgia. Health News. 2000
Trauma and fibromyalgia: is there an association and what does it mean?. Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2000
Update on fibromyalgia syndrome. Bulletin on the Rheumatic Diseases. 1999
Review of juvenile primary fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 1999
Diagnosis, etiology, and therapy of fibromyalgia. Comprehensive Therapy. 1999
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