Fibromyalgia is a common painful condition, which affects about five per cent of the world population. It causes symptoms, such as pain, aching, stiffness, fatigue and tenderness, especially in the neck, back, shoulders and hips. Other symptoms include sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression, headaches and gastrointestinal problems.
How long does fibromyalgia last?
It is a chronic painful condition, which follows a remitting and relapsing course i.e the affected person has periods of increase of symptoms (flare-up) followed by periods decrease of symptoms.
Although, it is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles leading to chronic pain and disability, there is no cure for the disease and it is not fatal. There is no inflammation in the affected tissues and therefore, the person does not develop body damage or deformity despite potentially disabling body pain. Internal organs in the body are also not damaged by the disease process unlike many other rheumatic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and polymyositis).
Symptoms of fibromyalgia do not worsen over time in most affected people, but some may experience worsening of pain and stiffness. Long-term studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms usually remain stable and about 25 - 35% of patients have improvement in pain related symptoms.