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Fibromyalgia: Symptoms and Risk Factors

Fibromyalgia is a common but poorly understood syndrome that affects muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and results in significant pain throughout the body.

Although the cause of the disorder remains unclear, some studies suggest that many cases begin after a trauma or illness. The condition may be related to an abnormality in pain perception.


  • Pain is the most common symptom and usually affects both sides of the body. There are specific tender points throughout the body, often on the back and neck.
  • Nearly every fibromyalgia patient has fatigue, and many have chronic fatigue syndrome. Poor sleep quality is also common, and sleep apnea may occur.
  • Other common concurrent illnesses include irritable bowel syndrome, depression or anxiety, and headache.
  • Many other vague symptoms may occur, including tingling, allergies, and difficulty concentrating.

Risk Factors

  • Gender: The condition is 10 times more common in women than in men.
  • Increasing age
  • Genetic factors: Specific genes that are associated with variations in function of the brain chemical serotonin have been identified in some fibromyalgia patients.


Fibromyalgia: Diagnosis and Treatment >>