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FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) is a widespread idiopathic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder, which is chronic. The pain comes from connective tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, but not joints and patients describe it as an ache all over.
The main symptoms of FM are pain and fatigue, but patients can also have a number of associated syndromes; sleep disorders, IBS,
chronic headaches, Temporo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome and many others.
Although idiopathic, the following events could act as triggers for FM; an infection (viral or bacterial), an accident or the development of another disorder, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or hypothyroidism. Other abnormalities that may be implicated are alterations in neurotransmitter regulation (particularly serotonin and noradrenaline, and substance P), immune system function, sleep physiology, and hormonal control.
With the lack of pathophysiological knowledge about FM, it is treated symptomatically. Medications try to improve the quality of sleep, and reducing pain. Alternative approaches include acupuncture, acupressure, nutrition, relaxation techniques, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, or a gentle exercise program. Exercise is also recommended, along with a carefully controlled diet. FM carries an annual direct cost of care over $20 billion.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it's thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.
It's also suggested that some people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia because of genes inherited from their parents.
In many cases, the condition appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as:
Source; Adapted from UK Fibromyalgia, NHS England