Chronic Pain | Chronic Fatigue | Depression | Anxiety
Sleep Dysfunction | Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of chronic widespread muscular pain, achiness, non-restorative sleep, and severe fatigue. The genetic component present in Fibromyalgia negatively affects the brain’s ability to process pain normally by altering the pain threshold. It is not uncommon to find hypersensitivity to touch, heat, cold, chemicals, light, sound, and smell. In Fibromyalgia this translates into pain. If genetically predisposed, a trigger usually occurs to initiate the disease. Subsequent triggering mechanisms such as accidents, trauma and or stress may increase symptoms. The good news is that Fibromyalgia is not fatal and can be controlled with proper diagnosis and a wellness regimen.  Some of the other symptoms that can be experienced are:

Sensitivity to medications and foods (often lactose intolerant)
Sensitivity to odors, sounds, and bright lights
Early morning stiffness
Tender points (see diagram)
Trouble finding words
Burning mouth or tongue
Decreased concentration and memory
(creating “Fibro Fog” read definition)
Sensitive Skin
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Dry eyes
Muscle cramping
Muscle weakness
Regional Muscle pain
Myofascial Pain disorder
Sensation of vibration
Generalized weakness
Weight gain
Sensory overload
Exhaustion after minimal exertion
Swollen extremities or sensation of swelling
Special instability and perceptual disturbances
Immune system dysfunction
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bladder syndrome
Diminished stress tolerance (emotional and/or physical)
Unexplained bruising
Low Blood pressure

The prevalence of fibromyalgia is most likely underestimated and under diagnosed. Studies show that between 2 and 10 percent of the population, predominantly females, are diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue according to the ACR protocol. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are not diagnoses that most physicians are comfortable making even though much scientific data is available to support it. Therefore, the number of people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue is underestimated.

In the last 25 years international research literature and conferences have been bringing important information about fibromyalgia syndrome to the surface. Even the medical books that notoriously take a very long time to assimilate new information have been including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, the ACR criteria, and a few minimal treatments in their publications.

Most experts in the field of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue believe that both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are on the same continuum with overlapping symptoms. They are clinically differentiated on the basis of symptom balance (i.e. chronic fatigue is more fatigue than pain and fibromyalgia is more pain than fatigue). Another difference between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue is the response to exercise; fibromyalgia patients are able to tolerate exercise while chronic fatigue patients are not.

the difference between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

Other Neurological Manifestations of Fibromyalgia

dysfunction of neurotransmitters - reception may contribute to misreading of sensory information (ex. touch feels like a burn)
abnormal tandem gait
hypersensitivity to vibration
abnormal twitch response - associated with myofascial pain syndrome
muscle weakness - overall weakness and fasciculations (twitch of muscle)
numbness and tingling of hands and feet - 60% of patients may have swelling
difficulty with visual accommodation and focusing, loss of depth perception
temporal instability may result in difficulty sequencing actions (timing of events)
overload phenomena - hypersensitivity to noise, light, odors, speed, and mixed sensory signals, cognitive, motor, perceptual and emotional overload causes worsening of symptoms and may result in temporary inability for patient to function


Diagnosis is made by conducting a comprehensive general history which focuses mainly on fatigue, sleep dysfunction and pain as well as a thorough physical examination. Although there are no specific lab tests for a fibromyalgia diagnosis there are tests that support the syndrome. Most fibromyalgia patients have:
sensitivity to light pressure in areas which are called tender points
low serum serotonin levels
low IGF-1
low DHEA
low natural killer cells
low B-12 and other B vitamins
low levels of certain amino acids, as well as
thyroid lab values which need to be interpreted within the context of other

Studies show an imbalance of pain related chemical transmitters in fibromyalgia; there are many pain promoting chemicals and fewer pain relieving chemicals.  For example, glutamine and Substance P.

Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)

The FIQ is an assessment and evaluation instrument developed to measure fibromyalgia (FM) patient status, progress, and outcomes.  The FIQ has been designed to measure the components of health status that are believed to be most affected by FM.

Print and fill out the FIQ.

Etiology (Causes) of Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Research has shown that there are four main causes of fibromyalgia syndrome:

genetic predisposition

hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation

pain processing systems

behavioral and psychological factors

Definition of Fibro Fog

The ability to process information in FMS is slowed down in what is commonly known as "fibro fog". There is difficulty with concentration, attention, and easy distractibility, all resulting in poor learning and memory formation.

Fibro Fog often involves confusion, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, retrieving words, and speaking. These symptoms become worse when there are more stressors present such as poor sleep, physical or emotional pain, and cognitive overload. There are dysfunctions in the brain (prefrontal cortex) which are involved in helping the hippocampus in the formation of new memories. This leads to misinterpretation of information.   return to list of symptoms


Mariposa Dreams

Plymouth Integrative Medicine Center
Fibromyalgia Doctor ~ Irene Metro MD
44670 Ann Arbor Rd, Ste 100, Plymouth, MI 48170

Call 734.432.1900 for an appointment with Fibromyalgia Doctor ~ Irene C. Metro MD

The information contained on this web site is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical care. All material provided in this web site is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

Fibromyalgia doctor Irene C. Metro, MD, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Board Certified American Board of Integrative & Holistic Medicine, is the medical director of the Plymouth Integrative Medicine Center in Livonia, Michigan. This medical clinic has internal medicine, integrative medicine, physical therapy, acupuncture, lifestyle coaching, nutritional counseling, and psychotherapy, and specializes in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, trigger point therapy, vitamin therapy, and pain relief. This medical clinic is located across from St. Mary Mercy Hospital and is easily accessible from Plymouth, Livonia, Canton, Northville, Redford, Westland, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Dearborn Heights, and other locations in Oakland County and Wayne County Michigan. Call 734-432-1900 to make an appointment with the fibromyalgia doctor MI today!