Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating condition that impacts significantly upon quality of life. The widespread pain, the fatigue, the poor concentration and general sense of being unwell can all play a part in limiting activity at home, at work and in leisure time.

In recent years, research into the biology of fibromyalgia has revealed the mechanisms and the influences upon the condition. Through this deeper understanding, treatment programmes have become increasingly effective. Comprehensively targeting the pain, symptoms and factors that have a bearing upon the sensitivity provide a positive route forward.

What causes fibromyalgia?

In most cases of fibromyalgia it is a virus, an injury, an illness or stress that triggers the condition. In a co-ordinated fashion, different body systems respond to the trigger and are responsible for the signs and symptoms. The sensitivity that evolves will then persist and unravel as widespread aches and pain, fatigue, poor concentration and mood changes for example.

Fibromyalgia is one of a number of functional pain syndromes. Others include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder dysfunction including repeated symptoms of infection, TMJ disorder, migraine, chronic musculoskeletal pain, pelvic pain and dysmennorhea. All of these seemingly ‘different’ problems are underpinned by a common biology that we can target. The mechanism is called central sensitisation and is a change within the nervous system that manifests as amplified and prolonged sensitivity.

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