Fibromyalgia is a chronic, debilitating illness causing widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body as well as severe fatigue.
Estimates on the prevalence of fibromyalgia vary from 800,000 to 2.5 million people in the UK. However even the lowest estimates demonstrate that it is more common than rheumatoid arthritis.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia are unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, stiffness, headaches, clumsiness, irritable bowel, and sensitivities to lights, sounds and temperature.
In the UK diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based on two main factors. The patient must have had widespread pain for more than 3 months, and pain in at least 11 out of 18 tender points when they are pressed.
Fibromyalgia can affect people of any age, gender or ethnicity. It is estimated that 80-90% of people with fibromyalgia are women.
There is currently no known cure for fibromyalgia, so treatment is based on reducing symptoms and helping people to live with the illness as best they can. Read our Living with Fibromyalgia page to find out more.