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Fibromyalgia is actually syndrome, not a disease, this is because the symptoms vary widely and the exact cause is unknown. There are no medical tests for fibromyalgia, though there is a possible link to the XMRV virus. It has also been linked to a wide range of sources, including infections, genetics, and psychological and physical traumas.
It is often referred to as an arthritis-related condition; however, because it doesn’t cause any inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues, it is not strictly speaking a type of arthritis. Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause severe pain and fatigue. Like arthritis, fibromyalgia is deemed a rheumatic condition, a medical condition which impairs the joints and/or soft tissues, causing chronic pain.
Unfortunately there is not a cure for fibromyalgia, but it isn’t progressive, or fatal. However it is a chronic disease, meaning it plagues its victims for long periods of time. Investigators think that people with this syndrome have unusually high amounts of pain receptors, so their bodies chemically overreact to pain.
Fibromyalgia is more common in women than men. Estimates indicate that 3 to 5 percent of U.S. women have it. Symptoms include the sensation of pain across the entire body, although more specifically in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Lower back pain is also common. Other symptoms include fatigue, headache, sensitivity to touch, and depression.
Treatments for fibromyalgia aim to minimize pain and include physical therapy, and counseling for chronic pain.