Fibromyalgia is usually classified as a soft tissue musculoskeletal condition. It occurs within your muscles or where your muscles join their tendons, but not in joints. Symptoms of stiffness, chronic musculoskeletal pain, aching, disturbed sleep, depression, anxiety, and fatigue plague patients with FM. Patients do not experience all of the symptoms, but patients with FM have many specific tender points in the body.
FM symptoms may appear suddenly, but more often appear after an illness
or a traumatic, stressful episode, causing muscle tension that's tight,
stiff, painful--which seems to never completely disappear. Constant
tension leads to overuse or abuse of muscles causing muscle fatigue,
which in turn creates more tension.
Specific anatomical points have become the primary diagnostic factor for FM. A patient must have at least 11 of 18 tender points at specific locations.
Tender points are located over muscles and end insertions, and can extend from mildly irritating to completely disabling. An increased level of muscle tissue breakdown has been suggested as one of the main reasons for aching, pain, and fatigue.
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