Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non painful signals.
Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications, trigger point injections can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures have also shown to be helpful.
It is believed that in patients with fibromyalgia, repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain and spinal cord to change, causing an abnormal increase in certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain. This causes the brain’s pain receptors to become sensitized, and they overreact to painful and non painful signals.
There are likely many factors that lead to these changes, including: