Fibromyalgia, previously known as Fibrositis, refers to a long term disorder which is characterized by widespread muscular skeletal pain. It commonly affects the muscles and soft tissues. The person suffers from chronic muscular pain, fatigue, sleep issues, and painful tender points also known as trigger points that can be relieved via medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management. Increased sensitivity to pain and muscle stiffness are also common signs of fibromyalgia. There can be headaches as well as problems pertaining to mental processes such as memory and concentration. The incidence of fibromyalgia is seven times higher in women than in men. It can occur at any age but commonly develops between the third and fifth decades of life. Fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease which means that it will not worsen over time.

Causes of fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia has still not been discovered. Yet it is believed that this medical condition occurs when the central nervous system of the body does not efficiently process and handle pain. Though it is often classified with rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and lupus, fibromyalgia is not a disease involving inflammation or a joint disorder.

Tender points affected by Fibromyalgia
People suffering from fibromyalgia undergo different kinds of pains in their bodies. Along with the deep muscular pain, various tender points are commonly felt as well. Tender points are the areas of pain situated around the joints, but not in the joints. Pain is felt when these areas are pressed. These are usually not too deep. Most of the time, they are present just under the skin surface. They are scattered over the neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, buttocks, and knees. The pain at these tender points is more severe than the other areas nearby. The tender points of fibromyalgia when pressed make the person flinch. The pain may even spread to other parts of the body as well from these points on applying pressure.

Fibromyalgia is a difficult medical condition to diagnose it is often confirmed by doctors via these tender points which are 18 in total (9 pairs). If the pain is felt in at least 11 of these tender points when the doctor applies pressure the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is confirmed. These 9 pairs of tender points are located at the-

  • Neck or the nape
  • Forearms near the crease of each elbow
  • Front of the neck
  • At the hip, where the buttock muscles curve to join the thighs
  • Bottom of the lower back at the very top of the buttocks
  • Knee
  • Upper back
  • Shoulder and the bottom of the neck
  • Chest, on either side of the sternum, a few inches below the collar bone

Though fibromyalgia has no permanent cure with care and lifestyle modifications, life can be better and relatively pain-free.