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Fibromyalgia, affecting 5-10 percent of the population, is characterized by tight, tender muscles, usually sore points in the neck, shoulders, chest, back, knees and hips. Insomnia and depression often are associated with the condition. While it is benign and non-progressive, fibromyalgia is chronic. No specific cause is known, although it sometimes appears following trauma.
Chronic pain affects some 80 million Americans and, following cancer and heart disease, is the third leading cause of physical impairment in the United States.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia often involves ruling out other illnesses. Treatment is primarily exercise and may include some kind of medication. From low back pain and herniated discs to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, physiatrists seek to not only reduce and eliminate chronic pain, but also to prevent its recurrence.