Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes generalized pain (sometimes leading to disability), and medically unexplained symptoms in various systems of the body. The prevalence of fibromyalgia increases with age, although it may be present even in adolescence. Fibromyalgia has a strong female predominance of approximately 10:1. The causes of fibromyalgia are poorly understood. The most common risk factor of developing this disease is psychosocial distress caused by, for example, matrimonial disharmony, child abuse, and alcoholism in the family. Patients usually report widespread pain (especially in the neck and back), fatiguability, and inability to perform daily activities, such as housework. Some people also experience tension headaches, frequent nocturnal urination, and chemical sensitivity (increased side-effects with drugs).
Hospital-diagnosed fibromyalgia has a poor prognosis. However, self-help strategies and a cognitive-behavioral approach with relaxation techniques can improve the quality of life and the ability to cope with the symptoms. Sublimated anxiety related to distressing life events requires exploration with appropriate counseling.