Fibromyalgia is a fairly common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression and anxiety.
Many people know what fibromyalgia is, but its causes have yet to be identified and confirmed in definite terms. But recent research has generally found that fibromyalgia is most likely a result of what scientists call central sensitization or unusual responses in the nervous system with regard to pain perception.
According to Dr. Bruce Solitar, clinical associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at NYU Medical Center/Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, “The [current] consensus is that fibromyalgia is not a problem with the muscles, joints or tendons, but rather a problem with the central nervous system.”
While it’s easy to think that pain felt by someone who has experienced no physical damage to the body might be categorized as “all in their head,” the sensations that someone with fibromyalgia experiences are as real as any other pain. Scientists aren’t sure what triggers fibromyalgia but a number of conditions have been linked to the development of it. These include: