According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia affects an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. alone. While most fibromyalgia sufferers are are adult females, many men and children have also been diagnosed.
There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, though extreme stress and repetitive injuries can be contributing factors, as can certain illnesses or diseases. Genetics may also come into play, and the disorder may appear spontaneously as well.
The most common symptoms are fatigue and muscle pain throughout the entire body, and additional insomnia, stiffness, and headaches are frequently reported. Some patients complain of cognitive issues that occur alongside other symptoms, including difficulty thinking correctly and mild memory loss, sometimes referred to as “fibro fog”.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, so medication and lifestyle changes are used to manage symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. Exercise, good sleep habits and a healthy diet can go a long way, but medication is still a necessary component of many patients’ treatment, providing relief from the debilitating muscle pain that is the disorder’s hallmark.