What is fibromyalgia?

Have you ever had a migraine? Fibromyal­gia syn­dromes (FM or FMS) is the full-body ver­sion. If you haven’t expe­ri­enced migraines, the best way I can explain FM is that it’s like the “just hit by a truck” sore­ness that goes with a bad case of the flu. It nev­er goes away, though. That’s just how we feel every day. In fact, for some of us, that’s a good day. The main symp­toms of FM are wide­spread pain and chron­ic fatigue, but there are many oth­ers. Recent research indi­cates that FM is a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der, rather than a rheumat­ic one as was orig­i­nal­ly thought.

Fibromyal­gia is a dis­or­der of hyper­sen­si­ti­za­tion, mean­ing that our bod­ies are “keyed up” all the time. FM patients are more sen­si­tive to pain, but also to hot and cold, drugs, spices, preser­v­a­tives, scents, tex­tures, chem­i­cals, changes in the weather—everything. Our immune sys­tems are often depressed, so we catch what­ev­er we’re exposed to. We take longer to heal from falls and oth­er injuries, while being more like­ly to fall due to issues with blood flow to the inner ear region (see FM Net­work News, April 2006, p 14).

FM patients expe­ri­ence peri­od­ic wors­en­ing of symp­toms, called flares. Flares are usu­al­ly brought on by stres­sors of some sort—illness, injury, over­work, emo­tion­al stress, any­thing that upsets the patient’s equi­lib­ri­um. While FM is not con­sid­ered a degen­er­a­tive dis­ease, those patients who live under con­stant stress do tend to degen­er­ate fair­ly con­sis­tent­ly.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, see Fibromyal­gia Syn­drome: An Intro­duc­tion.

One Response

  1. Lydia surgery - November 27, 2011

    Very cool I’ve book­marked ya on Digg.com under “Fibrant Liv­ing » What is fibromyal­gia?”. Kudos!

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