Fibromyalgia: Overview

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body accompanied with fatigue, sleep problems, physical and mental stress. 90% of the people that suffer fibromyalgia are women.


The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown but experts believe that fibromyalgia is not a disease but it is a chronic pain condition caused by the body’s abnormal response to stress. The way your brain processes pain gets altered and pain sensations are felt stronger and more intensely. Triggers for fibromyalgia can be certain infections or physical and emotional trauma.

Common Symptoms

§  Pain

§  Morning stiffness

§  Fatigue

§  Depression and anxiety

§  Painful menstrual cramps

§  Irritable bowel syndrome

§  Sleep problems

§  Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or feet

§  Dizziness

§  Tension and migraine headaches

§  Heightened sensitivity to touch

Impact on women

Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men. 90 percent of people who get diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women.

The intensity of pain due to fibromyalgia is higher in women. The reasons for this include hormones, immune system contrasts or genes.

Fibromyalgia symptoms may also be worse for post-menopausal women.           

Tender points

Although fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, it also leads to certain tender points in the body. These points cause pain when pressed or touched. Again, these points become more sensitive in women. The tender points are: inside of the knees, around the hips, outside the elbows, top of the chest, front of neck, between shoulders, back of the head.


Since there are no lab tests available for it, In order to diagnose fibromyalgia, a doctor will talk to you about you pain and tender points. According to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes about five years.    

Misdiagnosis can often occur because the symptoms are similar to some other conditions like hypothyroidism, certain cancers, HIV, diseases of the spine et al.

This is the reason that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes time. Often, one needs to rule out having other conditions with similar symptoms.

About the Author

Neha Ramneek Kapoor

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