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The debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia

Imagine waking after getting several hours of sleep and still feeling exhausted and feeling pain radiate throughout one's body with no apparent cause. For an estimated five million U.S. adults, painful and disruptive symptoms like headaches, widespread pain and fatigue are unfortunately something experienced on a daily basis. In many cases, an individual may suffer for years and endure countless medical tests and misdiagnosis before finally learning that he or she has fibromyalgia.

A mysterious and chronic disorder, roughly eight out of 10 fibromyalgia sufferers are women. The disorder is most readily associated with physical pain that affects the soft body tissues as well as fatigue. In some cases, these symptoms are severe and disruptive making it difficult to impossible for those with fibromyalgia to perform basic tasks, enjoy everyday activities and perform work duties.

To date, no one knows what causes fibromyalgia but some believe the disorder may be triggered when an individual experiences a "physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic event." Scientists also believe that genetics plays a role in the development of the disorder. Because the causes of fibromyalgia remain a mystery and symptoms often mimic those readily associated with many other disorders and diseases, the legitimacy of the disorder has been questioned by some within the medical field.

For individuals who believe they may suffer from fibromyalgia or who have been diagnosed with the disorder, it's wise to seek advice and treatment from a physician who is knowledgeable and experienced in treating fibromyalgia. While there is no cure for the chronic disorder, certain medications as well as lifestyle changes may help reduce the severity of one's symptoms.

Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, "Questions and Answers about Fibromyalgia," 2015

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