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"Fibromyalgia," The Other Female Malady

by Suzann Cook RN, BSN, WRMT 

Fibromyalgia is one of the most rapidly growing diagnosis in America. It affects 12 million Americans. The ratio of women to men is 8:1. It is most common in women over 40. A blood test or MRI does not diagnose Fibromyalgia. It is diagnosed by symptoms of wide spread chronic pain and tenderness in 11 of 18 defined points.

Studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia often interpret painless stimuli as being painful. They have decreased serotonin levels that interfere with sleep. It is similar to having post-traumatic stress disorder.

Women, who live with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, can feel as if they have no control over their life. Constant aches, pain and stiffness, coupled with sleepless nights, can lead to depression, anxiety and irritability. Activities of daily living become a challenge. Job performance, personal and family relationships suffer under the strain of the chronic pain. Quality of life takes a downward spiral. A sense of despair glooms over every day.


  • Become a detective. What triggers your pain, your stress?
  • Find ways to simplify your life.
  • Take time for your self, by taking a walk or a bath. Read a book. Try journaling.

Treatment of this disease, by most physicians, is antidepressants, cortisone or lidocaine injections, and pain pills. These alone are not enough to be effective. Mind-body practices, such as, massage, meditation, movement and journaling must play an integral part of your treatment program.

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