Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition that is characterized by chronic, widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. Other symptoms of the condition include joint stiffness, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Some people also report symptoms as varied as difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction.
The exact cause of FM is unknown but is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. Fibromyalgia’s main symptom is widespread pain from neurochemical imbalances. These imbalances cause people to process pain abnormally.
Patients with fibromyalgia have different brain structures than healthy individuals. Whether these differences are the cause or the result of fibromyalgia symptoms is still unclear. Fibromyalgia affects between 2-8 percent of all people and most typically have an onset before the age of 50.