Fibromyalgia symptoms are generally characterized by stiffness and pain in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is a complicated disorder as it actually comprises several different conditions, each with scant evidence suggesting an underlying cause.
Generalized fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. Muscle pain and stiffness are typically widespread throughout the body. Characteristic trigger areas throughout the body may cause pain to worsen in other areas of the body. The condition can arise from or be exacerbated by repetitive stress factors, both physical and mental.
Localized fibromyalgia, as opposed to the generalized form, is more likely to occur in men. Specific regions of the body are affected, typically those that have experienced recent repetitive stress such as at work or during exercise. One specific localized disorder, myofacial pain syndrome, targets the muscles of the face and can cause grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw during sleep.
Primary fibromyalgia is defined when no underlying causitive disorder can be identified. Secondary fibromyalgia is defined when an underlying disorder can be identified, such as hypothyroidism.
- aching muscle pain
- muscle stiffness
- regional tenderness to touch
- muscle spasms
- difficulty sleeping
- depression and anxiety
- grinding of teeth and clenching of jaw during sleep
- headache upon awakening
Diagnosis is typically through examination and observation of the presenting symptoms. Tenderness at many characteristic trigger areas suggests diagnosis.
Treatment is typically with stress relief methods (massage, heat pads) and stretching regimens. Sleep aids may be prescribed for individuals who have difficulty getting proper rest, however non-drug treatments of the disorder are favored. Most individuals have cessation of symptoms within 3 years of onset.