Quick Facts on Fibromyalgia
Dr. Emil Tompkins
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic, widespread pain as well as a variety of
other symptoms, such as tenderness, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms tend to
vary in intensity over time.
Fibromyalgia can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, light
household tasks and walking short distances.
Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 2 to 4 percent of the US population, or as many as 6 to 12
Although fibromyalgia affects both men and women, approximately 90 percent of fibromyalgia
sufferers are female. It is estimated that there could be as many American women living with
fibromyalgia as there are living with diabetes.
The underlying cause of fibromyalgia is unknown; however research is ongoing in the field.
Central nervous system defects are thought to play an important role in the pathophysiology of
fibromyalgia. Alterations in both the ascending and descending pain pathways in the central
nervous system may contribute to fibromyalgia pain.
There is no objective laboratory test or marker for diagnosis. However, diagnostic criteria for
fibromyalgia were developed in 1990 by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). These
criteria are 1) a history of widespread pain lasting more than three months and 2) the presence of
pain in 11 of 18 tender point sites on certain areas in all four quadrants of the body.
Today, the diagnosis is based on patient history, physical examination, laboratory evaluations,
and exclusion of other diseases.
Unfortunately, patients are often referred to numerous physicians, including a variety of
specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
Nearly 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia have not been diagnosed.
It is estimated that it takes an average of 5 years for a fibromyalgia patient to receive an
There are FDA-approved medications that can help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, as
well as lifestyle changes that may be appropriate.
Although no specific diet has been shown to relieve symptoms, a healthy and balanced diet can
increase energy levels and alertness, and help prevent other health problems.
People with fibromyalgia may also benefit from moderate exercise, such as low-impact aerobics
or daily stretching.
Here are just a few facts about fibromyalgia that we can use to help ourselves or others. If you are dealing with fibromyalgia pain in Tucson, call Dr. Tompkins for a consultation. Your health just may change because of it. Dr. Tompkins has been a chiropractor in Tucson serving families in Marana, Nortwest Tucson and all of Southern Arizona for over 8 years. And he looks forward to taking care of you and your family.
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