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Fibromyalgia is a neurological chronic condition that affects the musculoskeletal tissues of the body. The disorder is mostly responsible for inducing discomfort, pain and fatigue in the muscles, ligaments, tendons and in the areas surrounding the joints. People who suffer from fibromyalgia are constantly confronted with intense pain that tends to reoccur on a regular time basis. The pain caused by the disorder is felt deep inside the muscles and in certain points called trigger points. A common feature to all people with fibromyalgia is the location of the pain; to all patients fibromyalgia pain occurs in the same trigger points. Although people with fibromyalgia perceive the pain at different intensities, they claim to permanently feel a different level of pain in their soft muscular tissues.
An interesting aspect of fibromyalgia is that it can be very difficult to detect in some patients. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are common to many other conditions and therefore they can be misleading in establishing the appropriate diagnose. Although some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia may resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis, people with fibromyalgia seem to be in perfect health when they are examined by a physician, revealing no signs of muscular dysfunctions. Basic physical examinations and common laboratory tests usually don’t reveal the presence of fibromyalgia. This is due to the fact that pain, fatigue and discomfort are mentally induced to patients with fibromyalgia, as a consequence of abnormal activity of their nervous system. Although they show no physical abnormalities or dysfunctions, their experienced pain is real!
Abnormal brain activity is considered to be the main cause of fibromyalgia and there are two areas of the brain thought to be involved in the process. A high output of the mesencephalon (the upper region of the brain) accelerates the heart rate, increases blood pressure and raises the body temperature. People with fibromyalgia often experience sudden changes in body temperature and sometimes they sweat abundantly and even have fever. Also, a high activity of the mesencephalon is responsible for difficulties in falling asleep and inconstant sleep patterns. Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping and in some cases they even suffer from insomnia. Therefore, the cause for fibromyalgia lack of sleep is thought to be the abnormal activity of the mesencephalon. The permanent fatigue felt throughout the whole body by people with the disorder is amplified by inappropriate sleeping patterns, un-refreshing sleep or insomnia.
Another part of the brain that is considered to be responsible for inducing other fibromyalgia symptoms (anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, poor cognitive abilities, loss of short-term memory and confusion) is the cerebellum. A lower activity of the cerebellum is thought to be the cause of other fibromyalgia symptoms and the majority of people who suffer from the disorder reveal abnormal activity of both cerebellum and mesencephalon.
Fibromyalgia is considered to be a serious condition. Due to the chronic character of fibromyalgia, patients require ongoing treatment and therapy. If left untreated, fibromyalgia can cause other symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and swelling, vomiting, internal distress. Many people with fibromyalgia also seem to become depressed as the disorder develops and sometimes they even indulge in suicidal acts. Therefore, it is vital to spot the presence of fibromyalgia in time and appropriate measures must be taken in order to prevent further complications and undesirable effects.