Fibromyalgia Facts

To talk about Fibromyalgia, in many ways, is like talking about a ghost. We don’t know where it comes from; we can’t see it; we can’t test for it; we are not sure what triggers it; we can’t make it go away. All we really know is that it exists and people, the majority of which are women, get it and it changes their lives forever.

Statistics for Fibromyalgia:

1. Approximately 5 million Americans are afflicted

2. Ages typically diagnosed 18+ though some cases have been reported younger.

3. 80-90% of those afflicted are women.

4. The majority of people are diagnosed in middle age

5. Individuals with a close relative afflicted have an increased likelihood in being afflicted.

I have yet to see studies that investigate the following:

1. Personality type most affected – I feel this would be a valuable study for researchers to undertake. Both my wife and a cousin were very much “Type A” personalities when they were afflicted.

2. Barometric Pressure and its effects on the Fibromyalgia sufferer – My wife has become a barometer of sorts. When she wakes up in the worst pain, I usually check the weather immediately and, I can honestly say, 90% of the time a storm front is moving in.

The U.S . National Library of Medicine defines Fibromyalgia as:


Pain in the main symptom of fibromyalgia. It may be mild to severe.

  • Painful areas are called tender points. Tender points are found in the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, and knees. The pain then spreads out from these areas.
  • The pain may feel like a deep ache, or a shooting, burning pain.
  • The joints are not affected, although the pain may feel like it is coming from the joints.

People with fibromyalgia tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness. For some patients, pain improves during the day and gets worse at night. Some patients have pain all day long.

Pain may get worse with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.

Fatigue, depressed mood, and sleep problems are seen in almost all patients with fibromyalgia. Many say that they can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, and they feel tired when they wake up.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Palpitations
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Tension or migraine headaches

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