Overview of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome characterized by pain, achiness, tenderness, and stiffness in the muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons. Fibromyalgia most frequently affects the neck, shoulders, chest, legs, and lower back. Pain is generally accompanied by sleep disorders, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, and depression. Many fibromyalgia symptoms are similar to symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Incidence and Prevalence of Fibromyalgia

It is estimated that 6 to 8 million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. About 80% of patients are women. While the condition can occur at any age, the highest incidence of fibromyalgia occurs among women 20 to 40 years of age.

There have been reports of fibromyalgia in children. What may be considered "growing pains" might in fact be fibromyalgia, especially if the child also experiences difficulty sleeping.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011