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Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a rheumatologic disorder characterized by long-standing pain (> 3 months) that originates from tendons, ligaments, bursae and muscle tissue, but without inflammation. FMS is thought to be a multifactorial syndrome characterized in part by abnormal central sensory processing of pain signals.

FMS has been divided into two types: primary and secondary. In primary FMS there is no underlying diagnosis causing the syndrome. Secondary FMS has a probable cause. It may be the result of trauma, such as a car accident, or an overlay of a mechanical or skeletal malalignment.

It is thought that 3-6 million persons in the United States are affected by FMS. The syndrome occurs most commonly in women between the ages of 20 and 50, however children, men and the elderly can also be affected.

The cause of FMS is not known. Research is investigating the possibility that injury or trauma may affect the central nervous system and subsequently lead to the syndrome. Also being studied is the role of stress, and changes in the metabolism in the head and face as well as skeletal muscles. Several studies have suggested that heredity also plays a role.

Because the cause of fibromyalgia is not known, treatment is aimed at managing its symptoms. This is accomplished with a variety of medications, lifestyle and dietary interventions, as well as complementary approaches.

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The Medifocus Guide on Fibromyalgia provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:

What Your Doctor Reads:

This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:

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MediFocus.com understands that consumers who are facing serious medical issues need access to credible, up-to-date medical information to help them make informed health-care decisions. That's why we've developed the MediFocus Guides...the most advanced and trustworthy patient research guides for over 200 chronic and life-threatening conditions. Each MediFocus Guide includes a detailed overview of the condition including information about diagnosis, treatment options, cutting-edge research, and new developments; excerpts of important journal articles from the current medical literature focusing on standard treatments and treatment options; a directory of leading authors and medical institutions who specialize in the treatment of the condition; and a listing of organizations and support groups where you can obtain additional information about the illness.

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