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Fibromyalgia explained by the experts (what 12 organisations say)

Here is what the reliable and recommended experts say to explain what fibromyalgia is. I thought it would be good to put them altogether here in one place.

Fibromyalgia explained by the experts (what 12 organisations say)


  • Pain in every muscle and the profound exhaustion are not symptoms that people can see, but they are real and may be devastating for the person with fibromyalgia. ~ The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc. (AFSA)
  • Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting or chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). If you have fibromyalgia, you have pain and tenderness throughout your body. ~ National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases NIAMS
  • Pain and tenderness: The most common symptoms of FM are widespread pain and tenderness. These symptoms tend to be highly variable with some days being better than others. The location of pain may also change over time - people often describe FM as “whole body pain” since the pain and tenderness of FM is not confined to a single location within the body. ~ University of Michigan Pain Guide
  • Fatigue: The fatigue of FM is described as both physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Both types of fatigue are described as being more profound than “general tiredness”. People with FM are more easily fatigable and when fatigued, slower to recover. People with FM fatigue often consider the fatigue to be as problematic as the pain.  ~ University of Michigan Pain Guide
  • Fibromyalgia varies from one patient to another, but the multiple symptoms it causes are often intertwined. For example, patients who do not sleep well will usually struggle with daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, and increased pain.  ~ The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc. (AFSA)
  • Fibromyalgia (fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch that may occur body wide or migrate over the body.  Along with other symptoms, pain and tenderness wax and wane over time. National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association
  • Fibromyalgia causes body-wide pain and extreme tiredness. It can be confused with arthritis because it may cause pain in joints, muscles and soft tissues. But doctors consider fibromyalgia a pain disorder. It’s not life-threatening, but the symptoms can affect many aspects of daily life, including sleep and memory. People with fibromyalgia are 20% more likely to also have depression or chronic anxiety. That’s why it’s important to use complementary therapies and seek professional help to manage emotional symptoms. ~ Arthritis Foundation  

  • Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain and tenderness all over your body. Unlike arthritis, this isn’t because you have problems with your joints, bones or muscles. It’s thought to be caused by your nervous system in your brain and spine not being able to control or process pain signals from other parts of your body. ~ Versus Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia is a neurologic chronic health condition that causes pain all over the body and other symptoms. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia that patients most often have are: Tenderness to touch or pressure affecting muscles and sometimes joints or even the skin. Severe fatigue. Sleep problems (waking up unrefreshed). Problems with memory or thinking clearly ~ American College of Rheumatology
  • People with fibromyalgia often describe their symptoms as a flu-like infection that doesn’t go away. It leaves you exhausted and unable to think or find the right words (symptoms of fibro fog). ~ Fibromyalgia Network
  • Most Common Symptoms of fibromyalgia are Pain and stiffness all over the body, Fatigue and tiredness, Depression and anxiety, Sleep problems, Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration, Headaches, including migraines and Environmental sensitivities. ~ OMF Open Medicine Foundation
  • Other Symptoms of  fibromyalgia according to Open Medicine Foundation are Tingling or numbness in hands and feet, Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ), Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • You will find that you don’t have the same capacity for activity as you once did. It is essential that you manage your energy levels. You will need to pace your activities so that you can be as active as you are able without aggravating your symptoms. Listen to your body and respect what it is telling you. Plan ahead, know your limits, stop before you reach them. Do not push yourself. ~  National ME/FM Action Network
  • What Causes Fibromyalgia? Abnormal pain processing has been demonstrated in brain scans. The systems involved are complex which may explain the individualized response to medication and other treatments. ~  National ME/FM Action Network
  • Fibromyalgia is a soft-tissue pain syndrome that is classified as non-articular rheumatism in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases. As in other medical conditions, the severity of FMS varies from mild to severe and it can be debilitating. ~  The TEACH-ME Task Force 
  • Fibromyalgia is common and an enormous clinical burden for both patients and society. It is a very complex disease with a variety of symptoms in addition to the defining symptom – chronic widespread pain. These include fatigue, non-restorative sleep, morning stiffness, irritable bowel and bladder, restless legs, depression, anxiety and cognitive dysfunction often referred to as “fibro fog”. All of these symptoms cause serious limitations in patients’ ability to perform ordinary daily chores and work and severely affect their quality of life. ~ European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA)
Fibromyalgia explained by the experts (what 12 organisations say)


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