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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 especially in “tender points.” Symptoms can also include mental processing problems, for example, problems with short-term memory and concentration, headaches, 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.

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