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Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons i.e. the fibrous tissues in the body. Widespread musculoskeletal pain (sometimes profound) for which the cause is not known. The criteria of diagnosis involve widespread pain in all four body quadrants for a minimum of three months. Other systems include stiffness throughout the body. Cognitive difficulties involve 'laying down', short term memory, in concentrating, in being overwhelmed easily and in experiencing work mix-ups, difficulty in spreading or writing words you want to use. Non-restorative sleep, problems with balance, vision and clumsiness can be a clear signal that there is a problem with the body. Digestive disturbances, allergic reactions to common substance and odours, hypersensitivity to weather patterns, light, noise, pollutants and the inability to exercise. Most people with fibromyalgia complain of the pain starting in one area of the body, then radiating outwards. Cold weather, physical exertion, insomnia and stress can make the pain worse. As many as one in 50 people may experience fibromyalgia during their lifetime, with the large majority of sufferers being women.

Many people with fibromyalgia also experience secondary symptoms, including chronic fatigue, depression and migraine headaches.

There is no support agency in Ireland but information can be found via the Arthritis Foundation of Ireland.

Arthritis Foundation of Ireland
1 Clanwilliam Square
Grand Canal Square
Grand Canal Quay
Dublin 2
work Tel: +353 (0)1 661 8188
work fax Fax: +353 (0)1 661 8261

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