What is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic widespread muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, memory problems, and tenderness at certain points on the body. It is a leading cause of musculoskeletal pain in the United States. The cause of fibromyalgia is not completely understood, but it has been suggested that people with fibromyalgia process pain differently from other people. Fibromyalgia is a common disorder affecting approximately five million people in the United States alone. It is more common in women than men, with an estimated 80% to 90% of all fibromyalgia cases occurring in women. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed during middle age (Source: NIAMS). Symptoms of fibromyalgia may appear directly following an emotionally or physically traumatic event, or they may slowly increase in severity without obvious cause. Not everyone who has fibromyalgia will have all of the characteristics of the disorder, and some symptoms may lie in remission for a time. Fortunately, several medications are available for managing symptoms, including analgesics and antidepressants. While its cause is not understood, some cases of fibromyalgia have been related to injuries, illnesses, certain chronic diseases, and traumatic events. A genetic component for fibromyalgia has also been suggested. In some cases, left untreated, the pain of fibromyalgia can lead to a serious emotional condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have such serious symptoms as suicidal thoughts or severe depression with thoughts of harming yourself. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for fibromyalgia but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.