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Fibromyalgia (FMS)

is a newly defined yet poorly understood syndrome

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Episodes of pain and muscle spasms fluctuate and even migrate through any and many regions of the body. The pain can be severe and unrelenting.

Pain is only one component of FMS. Additional symptoms include, sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties, and a vast array of physical complaints. This condition tends to become chronic and there is no specific cure.

Fibromyalgia affects 2-7% of the population.

About 25% of patients with FMS have been declared permanently disabled. Prevalence is highest in Caucasian females, but anyone can be affected. FMS has also been noted to run in families.

Despite current literature, FMS remains generally misunderstood. Many still consider Fibromyalgia to be a "Diagnosis of Exclusion" or even a "Wastebasket Term." There is no specific lab test for FMS. People generally suffer for 5 to 10 years before the diagnosis is made.

Fibromyalgia can be divided into two types, primary and secondary. Primary FMS starts early in life and

is said to be familial or idiopathic. Secondary FMS develops either in association with another medical condition, or post-traumatically. The secondary form is more difficult to treat. The diagnosis of FMS is often overlooked when there are other medical conditions present. Fibromyalgia should be considered in anyone with pain, as it needs to be treated separately.

Authorities agree that the cause is not psychiatric, rheumatological, inflammatory, or soft tissue in origin. Current thought suggests that there are disruptions of neurochemical balances and circadian rhythms. SPECT scan shows reduced thalamic and right temporal lobe activity in patients with FMS.


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