Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain, stiffness and tightness of muscles and tenderness around the areas of tendon insertions. Myalgia is the name given to muscle pain, with 'fibro' meaning the fibres of the muscle. The commonest areas affected tend to be the shoulders, the neck, the low back and the sides of the chest.

Fibromyalgia can start suddenly or have a gradual onset. It is normally made worse by physical activity and the cold and damp. It has been noted that symptoms are worsened if the patient is under stress and not sleeping properly. This obviously goes hand in hand with the best means of recovery involving rest, relaxation and a respite from heavy physical activity.

Symptoms of fatigue, tiredness and anxiety can often be linked with poor quality of sleep or lack of it. By addressing this situation first e.g. going to bed early, warm baths, bed comfort (change mattress if too hard or too soft) the symptoms can improve rapidly.

It has also been found that, because of the tight nature of the muscle structures, stretching exercises, warmth applications locally and gentle massage can induce relief of the symptoms. Occasionally a short course of aspirin or other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug is of benefit. The condition will disappear in time although some people do experience reoccurrence of their symptoms from time to time.

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