The term fibromyalgia comes from the Latin word fibra (fiber) and the Greek words mya (muscle) and algas (pain) and Fibromyalgia refers to a condition involving chronic pain in muscle fibers.

Fibromyalgia is a controversial condition. According to Chanchal Cabrera, author of the book Fibromyalgia: A Journey Towards Healing, some doctors deny its existence and others use it as an excuse for their inability to diagnose the cause of a person's ill health. Experts suggest that fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), affects about 2-5% of the US population, or about 4-6 million people.

According to Catherine Browne, a licensed acupuncturist, the typical FMS patient looks healthy; no one can imagine that they are ill and in a great deal of pain. As a result, FMS sufferers often receive little empathy from family, friends, or even health care practitioners.

Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia are usually in the middle to upper earning brackets and are ambitious, hardworking and perfectionists. Women are seven to nine times more likely to suffer from FMS, which occurs most often in women of childbearing age. However, it can affect children and the elderly, as well.

FMS is often confused with, or can be concurrent with, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and rheumatoid arthritis, as they all share similar symptomology.

In fact, researcher Muhammad Yunus, M.D., of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, views fibromyalgia as being part of a larger spectrum of conditions, which he calls Dysregulation Spectrum Syndrome (DSS). Here is the cluster of diseases Dr. Yunus associates with DSS:


  • Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Irritable bladder
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities
  • Primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain)
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ)


From a natural health perspective, finding an exact name or names for a particular person's cluster of symptoms is relatively unimportant. What is important is identifying the underlying causes of a person's health issues. Medical science has not determined an exact cause of FMS or many of the other conditions associated with DSS, but the fact that these disorders typically overlap, suggests they have common root causes. And, since FMS is essentially unheard of in third world and developing countries, we can deduce that it probably has its roots in our modern diet and lifestyle.

Based on the clinical experience of herbalists and other natural healers working with FMS, its root causes are most likely nutritional deficiencies from inadequate diets, excessive stress, poor gastrointestinal function and exposure to chemicals and drugs. 

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