Today (May 12, 2011) is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and we think it’s important to draw attention to this painful disease that affects more than 12 million Americans.
So, what is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease. Unlike a disease, which is a medical condition with a specific cause or causes and recognizable signs and symptoms, a syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.
Fibromyalgia, which has also been referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome, fibromyositis and fibrositis, is characterized by:
- chronic widespread pain
- multiple tender points
- abnormal pain processing
- sleep disturbances
- psychological distress
For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
Whether you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or suffer from its symptoms, or have a family member or friend with the disorder, the National Fibromyalgia Association website is designed to provide you with a better understanding of this chronic pain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
Complementary therapies can be very beneficial to people with fibromyalgia. These include: physical therapy, therapeutic massage, myofascial release therapy, water therapy, light aerobics, acupressure, application of heat or cold, acupuncture, yoga, relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, cognitive therapy, biofeedback, herbs, nutritional supplements, and osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation.
Information provided by the National Fibromyalgia Association, 2011.