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Fibromyalgia Syndrome


Starting in the early 1800s, physicians have recognized a condition characterized by widespread pain, stiff muscles, profound fatigue and disturbed sleep, which they called "muscular rheumatism", fibromyositis, or fibrositis. Now known as fibromyalgia, this chronic condition affects up to six percent of the population. The vast majority of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, but men and children can also have the illness, and it occurs more commonly in families.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by fatigue and widespread musculoskeletal pain that is present above and below the waist, and is present for at least 3 consecutive months or more. Symptoms can also include brain (cognitive) processing problems, for example, problems with short-term memory and concentration, headaches, as well as sleep disorders, heat/cold intolerance, anxiety or emotional numbness, heart problems, including rhythm abnormalities, and marked weight change.

What causes fibromyalgia is not well understood. However, most patients describe a physical trauma, such as a whiplash or neck injury from a car accident, or a viral infection, or emotional trauma at the beginning of their fibromyalgia pain.

Fibromyalgia is a physical illness. Research shows that the brains of people with fibromyalgia handle pain differently from those of "normal people" and that much more of their brains are involved with the pain signal. A family history of fibromyalgia may also increase a person's risk of developing the condition.

Daily functioning:  In some people, the pain and other symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and may result in the individual being unable to sustain employment. Being in constant pain and suffering from fatigue may also strain relationships with family and friends.

Medical Description

Fibromyalgia is considered a syndrome because it is characterized by a group of signs and symptoms. These include: pain, fatigue, brain function problems, sleep dysfunction, problems with Automatic Body Functioning (Autonomic Nervous System), hormonal and endocrine symptoms, and varying degrees of reduced or disabled daily functioning.

Source: Women's College Hospital, Environmental Health Clinic, Toronto, Ontario - 2022

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Gisèle coaches clients living with fibromyalgia, multiple chemical and environmental sensitivities,

myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome, and long-Covid

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