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What in the world is Fibromyalgia? It's a pain in the butt, that's what. And in the arms, the shoulders, the legs, the back, the hips, and so forth. But seriously, Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a chronic, wide-spread pain syndrome that involves muscles, connective tissues (tendons, ligaments), bursae, and joints. Often there is severe fatigue, a feeling that one has a constant case of the flu or that "somebody pulled the plug". Furthermore, Fibromyalgia causes stiffness, particularly in the morning when the muscles seem to have "gelled" during the night. There is always non-restorative sleep. FMS patients do not get much, if any, stage 4 Delta sleep. This is the "healing" phase of sleep where repair of bodily tissues takes place. Muscles do not recover overnight as in normal individuals, hence the pain and stiffness.

Just imagine having a Charlie Horse--All over your body.
Imagine having the flu--All the time.
Imagine feeling like you've been backed over by a tractor... Every single day.
Imagine waking up and being afraid to step out of bed because you know--without a doubt--that when your foot hits the floor, a knife will cut through your body, and the feeling won't stop.
Imagine not being able to sleep.
Imagine fatigue seeping from every pore of your body, running in thick rivers that pool at your feet like concrete shoes.
Imagine feeling like every muscle in your body is on fire, and nothing will put it out.
Imagine feeling like you're about to come apart at the seams--and your doctor tells you it's "All In Your Head."

Fibromyalgia or FMS is technically not a disease. Like Lupus, it is technically a syndrome (a collection of commonly occurring symptoms) but both are, however, recognized by the AMA as diseases. There is no known definitive cause, and no known cure.

FMS is not damaging to the body; affected muscles do not dystrophy, and there is no inflammation. The pain waxes and wanes, but generally does not go away. It is believed that as many as 7-10 million Americans suffer from FMS, and women outnumber men as much as 20:1 (this is in dispute currently, as more men are now seeking treatment). While technically not damaging to the body, it is painful, sometimes debilitating. One sufferer may feel no more than annoyed by mild pain, another may be disabled by the severity of pain. The range is so wide that some people with FMS carry on with normal lives managing their pain with over the counter analgesics (and enjoy frequent remissions) and others find themselves in such constant, unrelenting pain that they must give up jobs and require narcotic therapy to simply function.

Learn more about Fibromyalgia. Click on one of the topics below.

  What is Fibromyalgia?  

  Symptoms of Fibromyalgia  

  What are "Tender Points"  

  Frequently Asked Questions  

  A Glossary of Terms  

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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12