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Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissue. Fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory and cognitive problems, and mood issues also accompany the musculoskeletal pain. Researchers believe fibromyalgia is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, some types of infections, and physical or emotional trauma. Repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain to alter, making the pain receptors more sensitive.
Different types of pain come with fibromyalgia. Myofascial pain is a major initial pain in patients with fibromyalgia, resulting from tight muscles. Central sensitization is when the brain becomes more sensitive to pain, which also affects those with fibromyalgia. Neuropathic pain is another common pain that results from tight muscles pinching the nerves. In late stage fibromyalgia, patients might develop allodynia, a pain in the skin when lightly touched. Pelvic pain, migraines and abdominal pain are also found in those with fibromyalgia.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs can help reduce the symptoms. Exercise, while difficult, has also been shown to be a successful pain reducer for those with fibromyalgia. Self-care is an important aspect of treatment, as well.