University of Utah
Pain Research Center
Fibromyalgia Overview
Symptom Monitoring and Sensory Sensitivity
Nutrition and Coping education for Symptom and Weight Management
Preparation Program for Treating Fibromyalgia
Links

click here if you are interested in more information regarding the “Daily Walking Research”


What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
What is the Cause of Fibromyalgia?
Other Symptoms
How Can You Help in Understanding the Factors that May be Linked to FMS?
Symptom Monitoring and Sensory Sensitivity Project
Treatment Program for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Syndrome

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic pain disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscle, ligaments and tendons - the fibrous tissues in the body. Syndrome means a set of symptoms that occur together. FMS affects 3 to 6 million Americans, and is more common in women than men. Because the pain and symptoms of FMS are not visible, it may be under-diagnosed.

Often those who suffer from fibromyalgia describe generalized achiness and soreness in many areas of the body. Certain parts of the body can be more painful and the pain may move around. The pain can vary from day to day. The morning may be worse for many because of stiffness and poor sleep. The pain may be aggravated by various activities, emotional stress, and environmental stress. Some people may experience only mild discomfort while for others it may be completely disabling. Physical examination usually shows increased pain sensitivity in various locations.

What is the Cause of Fibromyalgia?

The exact cause is currently unknown. The onset of FMS may follow an illness like the flu, a traumatic incident like an automobile accident or fall, or severe emotional stress. Abnormal brain chemistry levels may be present in FMS, although the cause of the abnormalities is not well understood. Because of the greater prevalence of FMS in women, the role of sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, is of considerable interest. However, at this time, very little is know about how sex hormones may influence pain and other symptoms of FMS.

Other Symptoms

Fatigue is a major problem that can fluctuate in severity just like the pain. Over 90% of people with FMS complain of chronic fatigue and decreased endurance for physical activities. Poor sleep is another common problem reported by many fibromyalgia sufferers.

Other reported symptoms are: morning stiffness, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, frequent headaches (migraine and tension-type), irritable bowel syndrome, sensitivity to cold temperatures, facial pain such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and changes in mood such as depression and anxiety. Some people also report problems in concentration and memory and express a sense of "mental fogginess."

How Can You Help in Understanding the Factors that May be Linked to FMS?

Researchers from the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Utah are seeking individuals who are interested in participating in our Fibromyalgia Research Studies. If you are interested in participating in one of our Fibromyalgia research projects, please click on one of the links below.

Symptom Monitoring and Sensory Sensitivity Project:

The purpose of this research project is to investigate how sensitivity to pain and symptoms vary across time in women with fibromyalgia. We are particularly interested in how sex hormones affect sensory and stress experiences in people who have fibromyalgia. The results of this study will help improve our understanding of the relationship between sensory sensitivity, female hormones and fibromyalgia. Better understanding of the underlying causes and conditions may help us develop optimal intervention options for people suffering from this debilitating pain disorder. Please click to see if you are a candidate for participation in this study.

Treatment Program for Fibromyalgia:

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the efficacy of various non pharmaceutical methods for treating fibromyalgia. We are interested in which method will have the greatest response in conjunction with physical therapy. Please click to see if you are a candidate for participation in this study.

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Pain Research Center  •   Department of Anesthesiology  •   University of Utah
615 Arapeen Drive Suite 200     Salt Lake City     Utah     84108
Phone: 801-585-7690    Fax: 801-585-7694

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