Fibromyalgia is a mysterious and elusive rheumatic disease causing a wide variety of symptoms that vary greatly from patient to patient. Wide-spread, deep, burning pain is perhaps the most frequent symptom. Fibromyalgia pain occurs more commonly in the trunk, low back, hips, and shoulders. It is rare in the hands and feet. Onset is usually gradual and can interfere with even simple daily activities. Fibromyalgia can present with flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, and digestive changes. Joint and muscle pain may increase at night, waking the patient from sleep as well as morning stiffness and soreness. Symptoms tend to be episodic and can last from days to months or years.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but is probably multifactorial. Many people associate the development of symptoms with an unusually stressful or traumatic event such as a car crash. It is also thought that a malfunction of how the brain and nervous system process pain may be involved.